Transforming growth factor-beta regulates production of proteoglycans by mesangial cells

Kidney Int. 1990 Feb;37(2):689-95. doi: 10.1038/ki.1990.35.


Accumulation of glomerular extracellular matrix is a prominent feature of most forms of progressive glomerular disease. Since some growth factors may play a role in extracellular matrix production, we examined the effects of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), interleukin 1, platelet derived growth factor, and tumor necrosis factor on the production of extracellular matrix components by cultured rat mesangial cells. In control experiments we found that mesangial cells produced two distinct proteoglycans identified as the small chondroitin/dermatan sulfate proteoglycans biglycan (PG I) and decorin (PG II) by showing that their mobility on SDS-PAGE changed upon digestion by chondroitinase ABC, and that they reacted with antibodies raised against synthetic peptides from the core protein sequence of human biglycan and decorin. Exposure to TGF-beta for 48 hours stimulated an 8- to 10-fold increase in the biglycan and decorin bands, and induced a structural change detected as a shift in electrophoretic mobility. TGF-beta did not demonstrably affect the production of other matrix proteins by the mesangial cells. The other growth factors tested had no comparable effect on the production of proteoglycans or other extracellular matrix components by these cells. Our results show that TGF-beta is unique among growth factors in its regulatory effects on mesangial cell proteoglycan production. The release or activation of TGF-beta during glomerular injury could mediate the accumulation of proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix and predispose the kidney to development of glomerulosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects*
  • Glomerular Mesangium / cytology*
  • Proteoglycans / drug effects*
  • Proteoglycans / immunology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Transforming Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factors / pharmacology


  • Proteoglycans
  • Transforming Growth Factors