Rat astrocytes synthesize and secrete two types of plasminogen activators (PAs), tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA), whose functions are related to cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation during development. The regulation of PAs produced by brain astrocytes is poorly understood. In a previous report we demonstrated that t-PA and u-PA are each independently regulated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase-C. In the present study we examined the effects of three well characterized astrocyte mitogens, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), on the PA activities produced and secreted by rat astrocytes in uitro. We found that IGF-I and EGF increase cell-associated total PA activity in astrocyte-conditioned medium (CM). The effects of both growth factors were dose and time dependent, and maximal stimulation was achieved after 72 h of treatment with the highest dose tested (100 nM). IGF-I stimulated the cell-associated PA activity more than the CM activity, whereas EGF showed an opposite pattern, suggesting that the secretion of PA is differentially modulated by IGF-I and EGF. PDGF had no effect on astrocyte PA activities at any dose or time point included in the study. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis/zymography showed type-specific changes in CM and cell-associated PA activity after growth factor treatment. IGF-I stimulated only t-PA, whereas EGF induced a marked increase in u-PA activity and a more limited increase in t-PA. PDGF did not modify either t-PA or u-PA activity. In summary, our results show that IGF-I and EGF each had different effects on PA activities, whereas PDGF had no effect. This diversity in the patterns of growth factor regulation of PAs suggests that the production of astrocyte PAs is not simply related to mitogenesis. More likely, astrocyte PAs are involved in a wide range of growth factor-mediated actions in the developing brain.
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