Growth Factors and Their Receptors

  • C.-H. Heldin
  • B. Westermark
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 94 / 2)


The growth of cells in culture is controlled by polypeptide hormones that stimulate or inhibit proliferation. More than 20 different growth factors have been extensively characterised, and the corresponding cDNAs have been cloned (Table 1). Several additional growth factors are known from their biological activities but have not yet been structurally characterised. The in vivo functions of growth factors are assumed to be the stimulation of fetal and placental growth during development, the regulation of the growth and differentiation of continuously regenerating tissues, e.g. in haematopoiesis, and the stimulation of tissue repair processes. Specific growth inhibitory polypeptides have also recently been identified. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and the interferons are the most well studied, but it is anticipated that additional growth inhibitors will be found. The functions of growth inhibitors in vivo remain to be elucidated; it is possible that they have a role in the feedback inhibition of cell growth and regulation of cell differentiation.


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Protein Tyrosine Kinase PDGF Receptor Autocrine Stimulation Haemopoietic Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.-H. Heldin
  • B. Westermark

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