Specificity in the synergism between retinoic acid and EGF on the growth of adult human skin fibroblasts

Exp Cell Res. 1988 Oct;178(2):254-63. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(88)90396-5.


Vitamin A (retinol) and five retinoids were tested for their ability to enhance epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation of adult human skin fibroblast growth in vitro. The retinoids utilized in this study were RO-1-5488 (all-trans-retinoic acid), RO-4-3780 (13-cis-retinoic acid), RO-10-9359, RO-10-1670, and RO-21-6583. Retinol and each retinoid were capable of stimulating fibroblast growth alone (0-86%), while 13-cis and all-trans-retinoic acid were the most potent in potentiating the EGF promotion of fibroblast growth. Other growth factors tested in addition to EGF were nerve growth factor (NGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and thrombin. While EGF and FGF stimulated fibroblast growth to the same degree (2.3-fold), only growth stimulated by EGF was potentiated by retinoic acid. Since retinoic acid might enhance the EGF stimulation of cell growth by increasing either EGF receptor number or binding affinity, the binding of 125I-labeled EGF was carried out in the presence of retinoic acid and the data were subjected to a Scatchard-type analysis. No change in EGF receptor number or affinity was seen in the presence of retinoic acid. The data indicate a specific interaction between retinoid acid and EGF which results in the potentiation of the EGF-stimulated cell growth. Furthermore, the mechanism of this interaction does not seem to involve the initial binding of EGF to its plasma membrane receptor or the available number of EGF receptors located on the cell surface.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Synergism
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • ErbB Receptors / drug effects
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Retinoids / pharmacology
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology


  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin A
  • Tretinoin
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Isotretinoin