Media from large vessel endothelial cells (pulmonary artery, aorta) contained intact connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and a dominant 19- kDa band. N-terminal analysis of the 19-kDa band showed sequence corresponding to CTGF amino acid 181-190, suggesting that the 19-kDa band represented a proteolytic fragment of CTGF. Intact CTGF was increased by cAMP but not by transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ). CTGF messenger RNA (mRNA) was not changed by cAMP nor TGFβ. In two microvessel endothelial cells, mRNA was found at low levels by PCR and Northern analysis, but no CTGF protein was seen on Western analysis. In the microvessel cells, TGFβ increased and cAMP did not change CTGF mRNA levels, with neither TGMP increasing CTGF protein. The discordance between protein and mRNA levels in large vessel and microvessel endothelial cells was mostly explained by the effects of cAMP and TGFIβ on media proteolytic activity; in large vessel cells, cAMP inhibited degradation of CTGF, whereas in microvessel cells, TGFβ and cAMP stimulated proteolytic activity against CTGF. We conclude that in large vessel endothelial cells, cAMP increased intact CTGF protein by inhibiting degradation of CTGF, whereas TGFβ stimulated neither CTGF mRNA nor protein; in microvessel cells, TGFβ increased CTGF mRNA, while both TGFβ and cAMP stimulated CTGF degradation.
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