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J Neurosci Res. 1999 Aug 15;57(4):487-94.

Neuregulins and ErbB receptors in cultured neonatal astrocytes.

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Research Service, Hines VA Hospital, Hines, Illinois 60141, USA.


Neuregulins (NRGs) are a family of growth factors involved in signaling between neurons and glial cells of the peripheral and central nervous system. NRGs are synthesized and secreted by a number of cell types including Schwann cells, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. NRG transduction signals are mediated by the erbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. These NRGs may be important for paracrine or autocrine signaling during development, injury, and the normal functioning of the central nervous system. In this study, we characterize the NRGs and erbB receptors expressed by cultured neonatal rat astrocytes. Using immunoblotting protocols with pan-specific antibodies, we identified eleven NRG molecular weight isoforms from approximately 16 kDa to 105 kDa in cultured neonatal rat astrocytes. Immunocyotchemistry with isoform-specific antibodies revealed the expression of both major isoform families (NRGalpha, NRGbeta). Additionally, astrocyte-conditioned media contained two molecular weight isoforms of NRGs. We detected mRNA expression of NRGalpha and NRGbeta in astrocytes by amplifying mRNA transcripts with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, we confirm that cultured astrocytes express all four erbB receptors as detected by immunocytochemical and immunoblotting techniques. These data indicate that astrocytes contain and secrete NRGs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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