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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 21;275(16):12119-22.

Fibroblast growth factor-16 is a growth factor for embryonic brown adipocytes.

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  • 1Department of Genetic Biochemistry, Kyoto University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


In rat embryos, fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-16 is predominantly expressed in brown adipose tissue. To elucidate the role of FGF-16, we examined the expression of FGF-16 mRNA in rat embryonic brown adipose tissue at different developmental stages by Northern blotting analysis and in situ hybridization. FGF-16 mRNA was expressed abundantly in brown adipose tissue during embryonic day 17. 5, embryonic days 17.5-19.5, and thereafter at lower levels into the neonatal period. The expression profile of FGF-16 mRNA well corresponds to the proliferative profile of embryonic brown adipose tissue reported. We also examined the mitogenic activity of recombinant rat FGF-16 for primary brown adipocytes prepared from rat embryonic brown adipose tissue. FGF-16 showed significant mitogenic activity for primary brown adipocytes. The mitogenic activity was found to be exerted by binding and activating FGF receptor-4 in the brown adipose tissue. As a great induction of proliferation of rat brown adipose tissue during cold acclimation was reported, we also examined the expression of FGF-16 mRNA in the brown adipose tissue during cold acclimation by Northern blotting analysis. The expression of FGF-16 mRNA was not increased, but rather decreased. The expression profile of FGF-16 mRNA and the mitogenic activity of FGF-16 reported here indicate that FGF-16 is a unique growth factor involved in proliferation of embryonic brown adipose tissue.

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