Heparin-binding growth factors present in pig uterine tissue were purified by approx. 50,000-fold using a combination of ammonium sulphate precipitation, ion-exchange chromatography and heparin-affinity chromatography. Purification of the uterus-derived growth factors (UDGFs) was monitored by the stimulation of [3H]thymidine incorporation into Swiss 3T3 cells and by a radioreceptor assay using 125I-labelled epidermal growth factor (EGF) as the ligand. The latter was shown to be a novel, rapid and reliable assay for heparin-binding growth factors which utilizes their trans-modulation of EGF receptor affinity. UDGFs exhibit strong affinity for immobilized heparin and two forms, named alpha UDGF and beta UDGF, were distinguished by salt gradient elution from heparin-agarose affinity columns. beta UDGF activity was eluted from heparin-agarose between 1.5 M- and 1.8 M-NaCl, and was correlated with the elution of a protein doublet of 17.2 kDa and 17.7 kDa. Immunoblotting of heparin-purified beta UDGF indicated that the beta UDGF doublet is immunologically related to the 146-amino-acid form of bovine basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and that the 17.2 kDa component is an N-terminally truncated form of the 17.7 kDa component. After purification by C4 reversed-phase h.p.l.c., this doublet was biologically active and greater than 95% pure as assessed by silver-stained SDS/PAGE. Amino acid composition and sequence analysis confirmed that these beta UDGF polypeptides were microheterogeneous forms of bFGF. Fractions containing alpha UDGF activity were eluted from heparin-agarose in 1.3 M-NaCl. These fractions contained a 16.5 kDa protein which co-migrated on SDS/polyacrylamide gels with recombinant human acidic FGF (aFGF) and which which cross-reacted with an antiserum raised against aFGF. The identification of heparin-binding growth factors in porcine uterus at the time of implantation raises the possibility that they function in the reproductive tract during early pregnancy.
1. [5α- 3 H]5α-Androst-16-en-3-one (5α-androstenone) was infused at a constant rate for 180min into the spermatic artery of a sexually mature boar. Samples of spermatic-venous blood were collected at 1min intervals for the first 10min of the infusion and thereafter at 15min intervals for the first hour, then at 64, 125, 155 and 172min. After infusion, the testis was removed and immediately cooled to −196°C. 2. From both the testicular tissue and the spermatic-venous plasma, endogenous and 3 H-labelled androst-16-enes were isolated, characterized and quantitatively determined and their specific radioactivity was calculated. 3. The specific radioactivities of 5α-androstenore, 5α-androst-16-en-3α-ol and 5α-androst-16-en-3β-ol (an-α and an-β) in testicular tissue were different from those in the spermatic-venous plasma, suggesting that these compounds may be present in more than one compartment of the testis and differentially secreted into the spermatic-venous blood. 4. The ratios of the specific radioactivities of an-α and an-β to their respective sulphate conjugates in the testicular tissue were less than the ratios of the same compounds in the spermatic-venous plasma. 5. The patterns of secretion of these labelled compounds in the spermatic-venous blood during the period of infusion were demonstrated. 6. The urine that accumulated during the infusion was analysed and found to contain 3 H-labelled an-β, conjugated as both glucuronide and sulphate, the specific radioactivities of which were determined. Little or no androst-16-enes occurred as free steroids. 7. The presence of an-β glucuronide in the urine is discussed.
1. In one experiment [7α- 3 H]pregnenolone was infused continuously for 12min into the left spermatic artery of a sexually mature boar and blood was collected during this period by continuous drainage from the spermatic vein. After infusion, the testis was removed and immediately cooled to −196°C. 2. From both the testicular tissue and the spermatic venous plasma, 3 H-labelled 16-unsaturated C 19 steroids were isolated and characterized and their radiochemical purity was established. 5α-Androst-16-en-3α- and 3β-ol occurred mainly as sulphate conjugates and to a lesser extent as free steroids. Only traces of these alcohols occurred as glucosiduronate conjugates. 5α-Androst-16-en-3-one was found in the free (ether-extractable) fraction. 3. The isotope concentration of each of the 3 H-labelled 16-unsaturated C 19 steroids in testicular tissue was different from that in spermatic venous plasma. 4. The ratios of tritiated 5α-androst-16-en-3α- and 3β-ol (free steroids) to their respective sulphate conjugates in the testicular tissue were less than the ratios of the same compounds in the spermatic venous plasma. The possibility that the sulphates are partially hydrolysed by testicular sulphatases before secretion is discussed. 5. In a second experiment, a continuous close-arterial infusion of [7α- 3 H]pregnenolone into the left testis was performed over a 200min period and all the urine that accumulated during the infusion was collected for analysis. 6. No 3 H-labelled 16-unsaturated C 19 steroids were detected in the urine as free steroids. Only a trace of 5α-androst-16-en-3α-ol was detected conjugated as glucosiduronate, whereas the corresponding 3β-alcohol occurred mainly as glucosiduronate and to a lesser extent as sulphate. 7. The absence of 5α-androst-16-en-3β-ol glucosiduronate in the spermatic venous blood and its presence in considerable amount in the urine may be attributed to hepatic glucuronyl transferase activity.