The effect of a sulfated mucopolysaccharide mixture of known composition, extracted from pig duodenum, was studied on the proliferation of rat arterial smooth muscle cells cultured from rat aorta. Cell growth, stimulated by fetal calf serum, was monitored by direct cell count and by determination of the mitotic index. The extractive mixture was studied in comparison with commercial heparin, with heparin with different electrophoretic mobilities in barium acetate and with dermatan and heparan sulfates. Heparins and the extractive mucopolysaccharide mixture inhibited cell growth measured at various time intervals, and in their presence the proliferation of smooth muscle cells plateaued at lower cell densities. Dermatan and heparan sulfates were either inactive or significantly less effective than the other mucopolysaccharides. A short preincubation (3 h) of smooth muscle cells with the extractive mixture, followed by incubation with the growing medium with no mucopolysaccharides added, slowed the cell growing rate, suggesting an interaction of the mixture components with the cell surface.
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