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J Cell Mol Med. 2007 Nov-Dec;11(6):1384-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2007.00100.x.

Neurons produce FGF2 and VEGF and secrete them at least in part by shedding extracellular vesicles.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.


We previously found that neurons are able to affect the ability of brain capillary endothelial cells to form in vitro a monolayer with properties resembling the blood-brain barrier. We then looked, by immunofluorescence and western analysis, for factors, produced by neurons, with the potential to influence growth and differentiation of endothelial cells. In the present paper, we report that neurons produce both vascular endothelial growth factor and fibroblast growth factor 2, two well-known angiogenic factors. More interestingly, we gained evidence that both factors are released by neurons, at least in part, by shedding of extracellular vesicles, that contain beta1 integrin, a membrane protein already known to be part of extracellular vesicles released by tumour cells. Shedding of extracellular vesicles by neurons was also confirmed by scanner electron microscopy.

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