Transforming growth factor α (TGFα) has been localized by immunohistochemistry in the ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells of sections from normal human ovaries and in epithelial cells of surface crypts. An ovarian cancer cell line (HEY) derived from the surface epithelium of a human ovary also exhibited intense staining for the TGFα peptide. Using Northern analysis, HEY cells were shown to express a 4.5-kb transcript of TGFα, indicating that the TGFα peptide was synthesized by these cells and not taken up from the serum in the culture medium and sequestered by the cells. This was confirmed using a radioimmunoassay, which showed that HEY cells in culture secrete TGFα peptide, both as a soluble (0.12 ± 0.02 ng/mg protein) and as a membrane-anchored (0.06 ± 0.006 ng/mg protein) form. In both normal OSE cells and HEY cells, TGFα acted as a growth promoter: TGFα significantly stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA of both primary cultures of normal OSE cells (2.7-fold) and of HEY cells (2-fold). This study provides the first demonstration of TGFα immunostaining in normal surface epithelial cells and in HEY cells, and suggests that TGFα, localized in normal and transformed OSE, is an autocrine growth promoter for these cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology