The antiangiogenic factor thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1) binds with high affinity to several heparin-binding angiogenic factors, including fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). The aim of this study was to investigate whether TSP-1 affects FGF-2 association with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and its bioavailability. TSP-1 prevented the binding of free FGF-2 to endothelial cell ECM. It also promoted the mobilization of matrix-bound FGF-2, generating a TSP-1/FGF-2 complex. The region of TSP-1 responsible for these activities was located within the 140-kDa antiangiogenic and FGF-2 binding fragment, whereas the 25-kDa heparin-binding fragment was inactive. Matrix-released FGF-2/TSP-1 complex had a reduced ability to bind to and induce proliferation of endothelial cells. TSP-1 depleted the ECM laid by FGF-2-overproducing tumor cells of its FGF-2-dependent mitogenic activity for endothelial cells. Besides FGF-2, TSP-1 also inhibited VEGF and HGF/SF binding to the ECM and mobilized them from the ECM. Our study shows that TSP-1 acts as a scavenger for matrix-associated angiogenic factors, affecting their location, bioavailability, and function.
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