Influence of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor beta-1 on patterns of fetal mouse lung branching morphogenesis in organ culture

Mala R. Chinoy, Steven E. Zgleszewski, Robert E. Cilley, Christopher J. Blewett, Thomas M. Krummel, Samuel R. Reisher, Sheldon I. Feinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), a potent inhibitor of epithelial cell proliferation, and epidermal growth factor (EGF), a mitogenic polypeptide that binds to cell surface receptors, are important regulators of cell differentiation; however, their distinct role(s) in lung development and their mechanisms of action are not well understood. We evaluated the effects of these factors on lung morphogenesis in murine fetal lungs at gestational day 14 (time:zero) and again after 7 days in culture. Baseline controls were cultured after tracheal transection in supplemented BGJb medium, and other tracheally transected lungs were cultured following addition of EGF (10 ng/ml BGJb), TGF-β1 (2 ng/ml BFJb), or with both in combination added to the medium. The control lungs in culture had poorly developed airways and an absence of defined acinar structures. The addition of EGF resulted in hyperplasia of primary airways with stunted outgrowths, monopodial branching, and absence of distinct acinar structures. Addition of TGF-β1 alone, led to significant elongation of primary airways, without normal airway branching; however, terminal dipodial branching was seen and the prospective pulmonary acini were well defined. Combination of these growth factors (GF) resulted in a more normal branching pattern and differentiation, suggesting their epigenetic role in lung morphogenesis and mutual interactive mechanisms that regulate lung development. These lungs had more abundant and larger lamellar bodies than those after other treatments. Control lungs remained immature with prominent glycogen aggregates with occasional dense lamellar bodies. The total protein and DNA contents were highest with EGF treatment, followed by combination treatment; these observations were supported by immunohistochemical localization of proliferating cell nuclear antigen, an indication of the proliferative state of tissues. All the surfactant proteins were relatively unaltered and their messages were up-regulated for SP-A, but down-regulated for SP-B and SP-C in the lungs treated with growth factors. In conclusion, we have demonstrated enhanced biochemical and structural development of lungs treated in vitro with GF, and propose that further research in this area may lead to therapeutic uses of GF alone or in combination with other agents for the treatment of newborn respiratory distress due to lung immaturity or hypoplastic lung development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-256
Number of pages13
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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