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Biochem Cell Biol. 1998;76(6):1039-50.

Growth factor synergism and antagonism in early neural crest development.

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  • Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA. sieberbl@mcw.edu


This review article focuses on data that reveal the importance of synergistic and antagonistic effects in growth factor action during the early phases of neural crest development. Growth factors act in concert in different cell lineages and in several aspects of neural crest cell development, including survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Stem cell factor (SCF) is a survival factor for the neural crest stem cell. Its action is neutralized by neurotrophins, such as nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) through apoptotic cell death. In contrast, SCF alone does not support the survival of melanogenic cells (pigment cell precursors). They require the additional presence of a neurotrophin (NGF, BDNF, or NT-3). Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) is an important promoter of proliferation in neuronal progenitor cells. In neural crest cells, fibroblast growth factor treatment alone does not lead to cell expansion but also requires the presence of a neurotrophin. The proliferative stimulus of the fibroblast growth factor - neurotrophin combination is antagonized by transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFbeta-1). Moreover, TGFbeta-1 promotes the concomitant expression of neuronal markers from two cell lineages, sympathetic neurons and primary sensory neurons, indicating that it acts on a pluripotent neuronal progenitor cell. Moreover, the combination of FGF-2 and NT3, but not other neurotrophins, promotes expression or activation of one of the earliest markers expressed by presumptive sympathetic neuroblasts, the norepinephrine transporter. Taken together, these data emphasize the importance of the concerted action of growth factors in neural crest development at different levels and in several cell lineages. The underlying mechanisms involve growth-factor-induced dependence of the cells on other factors and susceptibility to growth-factor-mediated apoptosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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