Although it has been reported that several growth factors modulate soft- tissue healing, the specific effects of growth factors on protein synthesis during ligament healing have not been widely investigated. In this study, we examined the effects of basic and acidic fibroblast growth factors, transforming growth factor β1, and epidermal growth factor on collagen and noncollagenous protein synthesis by cultured fibroblasts from medical collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament in vitro. Uptake of tritiated proline was used to measure synthesis of collagen and noncollagenous protein, and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used to analyze the type of collagens synthesized. Our data showed that transforming growth factor β1 increased both collagen and noncollagenous protein synthesis by medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligament fibroblasts on a dose-dependent basis. Collagen synthesis by cultured fibroblasts from the medical collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments was increased by treatment with transforming growth factor β1 by as much as approximately 1.5 times that of untreated controls. Although the response to transforming growth factor β1 by anterior cruciate ligament fibroblasts was equal to that by medical collateral ligament fibroblasts, the amounts of matrix proteins synthesized by anterior cruciate ligament fibroblasts were approximately half of that by medial collateral ligament fibroblasts. The increase was mostly in type-I collagen. Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament fibroblasts with epidermal growth factor increased collagen synthesis, by approximately 25%, but had little effect on medial collateral ligament fibroblasts. Neither basic nor acidic fibroblast growth factor increased either collagen or noncollagenous protein synthesis. These findings suggest that topical application of transforming growth factor β1, alone or in combination with epidermal growth factor, may have the potential to strengthen the ligament by increasing matrix synthesis during its remodeling and healing processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine