Growth factors are essential to immune system research as the mechanism through which we replicate and understand cell proliferation, differentiation, and growth in vitro.

There are many growth factors from which to choose for in vitro research, but selecting the right growth factor is not always a clear decision.

A Focus on Platelet-Derived Growth Factors (PDGF)

Platelets are a rich source of many growth factors, chemokines, and other factors that play a role in immunity and inflammation, making them essential to our understanding of immune activation.

Growth factors derived from the alpha granules in human platelets include PDGF, epidermal growth factor (EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), all of which contribute to development and the wound healing process in various parts of the body.

Many researchers favor platelet lysate as a supplement for culture medium due to its advantages as a human-derived product and its variety of growth factors. Platelet lysate is also easier to source than serum, making it a popular alternative. If you’re considering a switch from serum to platelet lysate, see the table below to learn about some of the growth factors, chemokines, and other substances found in platelets that contribute to various immune activities.

The Guide to Platelet-Derived Growth Factors

The list below shows three categories of platelet-derived substances that contribute to growth and healing.

  • The first section highlights several growth factors that are important in tissue growth and repair, most of which affect the cells that make up vasculature, connective tissues, and bone.
  • The middle section includes chemokines that activate and direct inflammatory cells to the site of the injury.
  • The final section lists other platelet-derived factors that regulate the immune response, both positively and negatively.

Curious what platelets can do in your research? Get some and find out for yourself!



Growth FactorAlternate NamesActivity
Platelet-Derived Growth FactorPDGFGrowth factor for smooth muscle cells, bone cartilage
Epidermal Growth FactorEGF, UrogastroneStimulates growth of epidermal and epithelial cells
Hepatocyte Growth FactorHGFStimulates growth of hepatocytes and other cell types, stimulates migration
Insulin-Like Growth FactorIGFGrowth factor for multiple cell types including muscle and bone
Fibroblast Growth FactorFGFb, FGF-2Growth factor important in fetal and neonatal growth and development
Vascular Endothelial Growth FactorVEGF-AAngiogenic factor, promotes endothelial cell growth, increases vascular permeability
Vascular Endothelial Growth FactorVEGF-CAngiogenic factor, promotes endothelial cell growth


Growth FactorAlternate NamesActivity
Activates neutrophils and basophils and is a chemoattractant for these cells
Chemotactic for neutrophils and monocytes, anti-angiogenic
Chemoattractant for neutrophils
Activates and chemoattracts neutrophils
Activates and chemoattracts neutrophils
Chemoattracts B and T cells
Activates monocytes and is a chemoattractant for monocytes, T cells, NK cells
Chemoattractant for monocytes, B cells, CD8+ T cells, dendritic cells
Chemoattractant for monocytes, memory T cells, eosinophils, basophils
T cell chemoattractant


Growth FactorAlternate NamesActivity
Interleukin 1IL-1
Proinflammatory cytokine
Multiple activities, may increase cytokine secretion in response to LPS
Transforming Growth FactorTGF-β1 and TGF-β2
Multifunctional, immune-inhibitory, promotes T regulatory cells
Soluble CD40L
Activates dendritic cells, provides costimulatory signal for B cells

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