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FEBS Lett. 1999 Aug 20;457(1):43-6.

Astrocyte differentiation mediated by LIF in cooperation with BMP2.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 2 signal via different receptor systems. We have recently demonstrated that simultaneous stimulation of fetal mouse neuroepithelial cells with these distinct types of cytokines synergistically induces astrocyte differentiation in a 2-day culture. Here we show that astrocytes spontaneously emerge in vitro without exogenously added LIF and BMP2 in the culture of neuroepithelial cells for a much longer period. This spontaneous astrocyte differentiation is completely impaired when neuroepithelial cells deficient for gp130, a signal transducing receptor component for LIF, are used. We also show that LIF and BMP2 as well as related cytokines and respective receptor molecules are expressed in fetal mouse brain and cultured neuroepithelial cells. Taken together with our previous finding that prenatal mouse brain deficient for gp130 exhibits a severe reduction of astrocytes, it is suggested that LIF acts cooperatively with BMP2 in vivo to induce astrocyte differentiation in mouse developing brain.

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