Keratinocyte growth factor induces angiogenesis and protects endothelial barrier function

Paul Gillis, Ushma Savla, Olga V. Volpert, Benilde Jimenez, Christopher M. Waters, Ralph J. Panos, Noël P. Bouck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), also called fibroblast growth factor-7, is widely known as a paracrine growth and differentiation factor that is produced by mesenchymal cells and has been thought to act specifically on epithelial cells. Here it is shown to affect a new cell type, the microvascular endothelial cell. At subnanomolar concentrations KGF induced in vivo neovascularization in the rat cornea. In vitro it was not effective against endothelial cells cultured from large vessels, but did act directly on those cultured from small vessels, inducing chemotaxis with an ED50 of 0.02-0.05 ng/ml, stimulating proliferation and activating mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK). KGF also helped to maintain the barrier function of monolayers of capillary but not aortic endothelial cells, protecting against hydrogen peroxide and vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF/VPF) induced increases in permeability with an ED50 of 0.2-0.5 ng/ml. These newfound abilities of KGF to induce angiogenesis and to stabilize endothelial barriers suggest that it functions in microvascular tissue as it does in epithelial tissues to protect them against mild insults and to speed their repair after major damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2049-2057
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1999


  • Angiogenesis
  • KGF
  • Vascular permeability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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