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Neuron. 2002 Jul 18;35(2):267-82.

Artemin is a vascular-derived neurotropic factor for developing sympathetic neurons.

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Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Artemin (ARTN) is a member of the GDNF family of ligands and signals through the Ret/GFRalpha3 receptor complex. Characterization of ARTN- and GFRalpha3-deficient mice revealed similar abnormalities in the migration and axonal projection pattern of the entire sympathetic nervous system. This resulted in abnormal innervation of target tissues and consequent cell death due to deficiencies of target-derived neurotrophic support. ARTN is expressed along blood vessels and in cells nearby to sympathetic axonal projections. In the developing vasculature, ARTN is expressed in smooth muscle cells of the vessels, and it acts as a guidance factor that encourages sympathetic fibers to follow blood vessels as they project toward their final target tissues. The chemoattractive properties of ARTN were confirmed by the demonstration that sympathetic neuroblasts migrate and project axons toward ARTN-soaked beads implanted into mouse embryos.

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