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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):358-70.

Transforming growth factor-beta1 is a negative modulator of adult neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 has multiple functions in the adult central nervous system (CNS). It modulates inflammatory responses in the CNS and controls proliferation of microglia and astrocytes. In the diseased brain, TGF-beta1 expression is upregulated and, depending on the cellular context, its activity can be beneficial or detrimental regarding regeneration. We focus on the role of TGF-beta1 in adult neural stem cell biology and neurogenesis. In adult neural stem and progenitor cell cultures and after intracerebroventricular infusion, TGF-beta1 induced a long-lasting inhibition of neural stem and progenitor cell proliferation and a reduction in neurogenesis. In vitro, although TGF-beta1 specifically arrested neural stem and progenitor cells in the G0/1 phase of the cell cycle, it did not affect the self-renewal capacity and the differentiation fate of these cells. Also, in vivo, TGF-beta1 did not influence the differentiation fate of newly generated cells as shown by bromo-deoxyuridine incorporation experiments. Based on these data, we suggest that TGF-beta1 is an important signaling molecule involved in the control of neural stem and progenitor cell proliferation in the CNS. This might have potential implications for neurogenesis in a variety of TGF-beta1-associated CNS diseases and pathologic conditions.

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