gp38k (CHI3L1) is a novel adhesion and migration factor for vascular cells

Exp Cell Res. 2003 Jul 1;287(1):79-87. doi: 10.1016/s0014-4827(03)00069-7.


gp38k (CHI3L1) is a secreted heparin-binding glycoprotein whose expression, in vitro, is associated with vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration and invasion into the underlying gelatinous matrix. gp38k is expressed at high levels in postconfluent "nodular" VSMC cultures and at low levels in subconfluent proliferating cultures. In vivo, expression of gp38k homologs is high in regions of tissue remodeling and now has been detected in atherosclerotic plaques and in the developing heart. We tested the hypothesis that gp38k functions to modulate VSMC adhesion and migration. By use of modified Boyden chambers, gp38k at a concentration as low as 1 ng/ml has profound effects on VSMC migration but little or no effect on fibroblast migration. In addition, gp38k adsorbed to polystyrene surfaces directly promotes VSMC attachment and spreading. Attachment is inhibited in the presence of affinity-purified anti-gp38k or 10 mM EDTA. These results establish that gp38k is a new vascular cell adhesion and migration factor that may have a role in processes leading to vascular occlusion and heart development. gp38k may interact with VSMC via an EDTA-sensitive mechanism consistent with integrin mediated cell-matrix interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Cardiovascular System / embryology
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Coronary Disease / metabolism
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Lectins
  • Models, Molecular
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Sus scrofa


  • Adipokines
  • Antibodies
  • CHI3L1 protein, human
  • Chelating Agents
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Glycoproteins
  • Integrins
  • Lectins