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Neurochem Res. 2007 Aug;32(8):1399-406. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Interferon-gamma promotes differentiation of neural progenitor cells via the JNK pathway.

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Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy and Research Institute for Drug Development, Longevity Life Science and Technology Institutes, Pusan National University, Geumjeong-gu, Busan, Korea.


It has been reported that interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) facilitates differentiation of PC-12 cells and murine adult neural stem cells. Here we show that IFN-gamma promotes the differentiation of C17.2 neural progenitor cells (NPC) into a neuronal phenotype characterized by neurite outgrowth and the expression of the neuronal marker protein beta-III tubulin. IFN-gamma induced an increase in the activity c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) without affecting activities of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs 1 and 2). An inhibitor of JNK blocked the ability of IFN-gamma to promote differentiation of NPC into neurons, whereas an inhibitor of ERKs 1 and 2 did not. Our findings show that the pro-inflammatory cytokine, IFN-gamma has the potential to stimulate neurogenesis, suggesting roles for this cytokine in development and repair of the nervous system.

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