We have examined the effects of three macrophage-derived cytokines, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) on the contraction of collagen type I gels populated by human foreskin fibroblasts. Contraction was quantified as loss in gel weight. Both PDGF-AA and PDGF-BB were found to induce a rapid collagen-gel contraction. TGF-beta 1 also stimulated gel contraction but with a delayed onset and at a slower rate than the PDGF-stimulated contraction. Rabbit polyclonal IgGs recognizing PDGF-AA and PDGF-BB, respectively, specifically inhibited the effects of the corresponding PDGF isoforms. However, the stimulatory effect of TGF-beta 1 was not affected by any of the anti-PDGF antibodies. The ability of PDGF to stimulate contraction became less pronounced in collagen gel cultures grown in the absence of growth factors over periods of several days. Under the same conditions, the stimulatory effect of TGF-beta 1 was not reduced. The reduced response to PDGF may be due to reduced tension on fibroblasts growing in collagen gels, since fibroblasts on free-floating gels showed a marked reduction in PDGF-BB-induced PDGF beta-receptor aggregates when compared to fibroblasts on attached collagen gels. IL-1 alpha inhibited initial collagen gel contraction, and at later stages induced a visible degradation of the collagen gels, presumably due to the generation of collagenase activity. The combination of IL-1 alpha and PDGF-BB stimulated initial collagen gel contraction, although less effectively than PDGF-BB alone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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