Spreading of human fibroblasts in serum‐free medium: Inhibition by dithiothreitol and the effect of cold insoluble globulin (plasma fibronectin)

F. Grinnell, M. K. Feld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We have tested the effect of dithiothreitol (DTT) treatment on the initial spreading of human fibroblasts in serum‐free medium in tissue culture dishes. Cell spreading was inhibited following treatment of these cells with 10 mM DTT. Inhibition occurred when the cells were treated at 37°C but not at 4° and was reversible metabolically but not by the addition of sulfhydryl oxidizing reagents. The inhibition was overcome when DTT‐treated human fibroblasts were plated on cold insoluble globulin (plasma fibronectin)—coated dishes. Under these conditions spreading appeared to be completely normal, including the formation of focal adhesions. Analysis of the fibronectin concentrations in the human fibroblasts following DTT treatment indicated that there was little decrease in the absolute level of activity as determined in a biological assay for BHK cell spreading on culture dishes. Analysis of the fibronectin distribution on the DTT‐treated human fibroblasts by indirect immunofluorescence using a specific anti‐CIG antiserum revealed that fibronectin was no longer deposited onto the culture dish surfaces. Even when the DTT‐treated human fibroblasts spread in the presence of fetal calf serum, the cell fibronectin remained for the most part in a perinuclear location. These results indicate that DTT treatment of human fibroblasts prevents the normal translocation of fibronectin from a perinuclear location to the surface of the culture dish. This study further supports our hypothesis that the initial spreading in serum‐free medium of fibroblasts from cell strains depends upon secretion of fibronectin onto the culture dish surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of cellular physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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