Growth factor-induced morphological, physiological and molecular characteristics in cerebral endothelial cells

István A. Krizbai, Hannelore Bauer, Albert Amberger, Bernhard Hennig, Hajnalka Szabó, Renate Fuchs, Hans Christian Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The capacity of vascular endothelial cells to modulate their phenotype in response to changes in environmental conditions is one of the most important characteristics of this cell type. Since different growth factors may play an important signalling role in this adaptive process we have investigated the effect of endothelial cell growth factor (ECGF) on morphological, physiological and molecular characteristics of cerebral endothelial cells (CECs). CECs grown in the presence of ECGF and its cofactor heparin exhibit an epithelial-like morphology (type I CECs). Upon removal of growth factors, CECs develop an elongated spindle-like shape (type II CECs) which is accompanied by the reorganization of actin filaments and the induction of α-actin expression. Since one of the most important functions of CECs is the creation of a selective diffusion barrier between the blood and the central nervous system (CNS), we have studied the expression of junction-related proteins in both cell types. We have found that removal of growth factors from endothelial cultures leads to the downregulation of cadherin and occludin protein levels. The loss of junctional proteins was accompanied by a significant increase in the migratory activity and an altered protease activity profile of the cells. TGF-β1 suppressed endothelial migration in all experiments. Our data provide evidence to suggest that particular endothelial functions are largely controlled by the presence of growth factors. The differences in adhesiveness and migration may play a role in important physiological and pathological processes of endothelial cells such as vasculogenesis or tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-600
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This work was supported by the FWF (12361-MED), the Austrian Ministry of Science and Transport (GZ70.036/2), by OTKA (F026504), ETT (T04 232/96), and the Austrian Programme for Research and Technology APART (H. Bauer).


  • Adherens junction
  • Cerebral endothelial cells
  • Endothelial cell growth factor
  • Migration
  • Tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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