Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Enhances Proliferation of Human Tenocytes and Promotes Tenogenic Gene Expression

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Abstract

Background:

In obtaining human tenocytes for tendon tissue engineering, a low proliferation rate and phenotype loss during passaging is a problem. It was the authors’ aim to evaluate the influence of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on human tenocyte growth and gene expression.

Methods:

Human tenocytes were exposed to human VEGF in various concentrations (5, 10, and 20 ng/ml) for 5 days. Cell proliferation was counted and expression of tendon-related genes was analyzed.

Results:

Tenocyte count was 1.4 × 105/ml, 2.7 × 105/ml, 2.3 × 105/ml, and 3.7 × 105/ml for 0, 5, 10, and 20 ng/ml VEGF, respectively. Expression of Col1 was up-regulated 6.4 ± 4.2-fold, 60.1 ± 21.6-fold, and 15.8 ± 10.2-fold for 5, 10, and 20 ng/ml VEGF; all differences were significant with p < 0.05. Col3 was down-regulated to 0.2 ± 0.1-fold, 0.3 ± 0.1-fold, and 0.1 ± 0.03-fold for 5, 10, and 20 ng/ml VEGF; all differences were significant. Eln was up-regulated 2.3 ± 1.7-fold, 25.5 ± 10.9-fold, and 16.6 ± 9.0-fold for 5, 10, and 20 ng/ml VEGF; differences were significant for 10 and 20 ng/ml VEGF. TSC was down-regulated to 0.3 ± 0.1-fold and 0.3 ± 0.1-fold for 5 and 20 ng/ml VEGF; differences were significant for 5 and 20 ng/ml. SCX was up-regulated to 31.3 ± 8.5-fold, 49.1 ± 23.4-fold, and 20.9 ± 9.5-fold for 5, 10, and 20 ng/ml VEGF; all changes were significant.

Conclusions:

VEGF enhances proliferation and expression of tendon-related genes in human tenocytes. It could therefore be a useful addition for tenocyte cultivation.

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