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Dev Biol. 1986 Jul;116(1):138-42.

Transferrin and the trophic effect of neural tissue on amphibian limb regeneration blastemas.


Nerves promote regeneration of amputated urodele limbs, but the chemical basis of the effect is not known. We have examined the possible involvement of the iron-transport factor transferrin, which is important for cell proliferation and is present in vertebrate nervous tissue. Newt brain extract stimulated incorporation of [3H]thymidine in cultured blastemas from regenerating newt forelimbs, showing a biphasic dose-response similar to that of heterologous transferrin. As shown previously for transferrin, the inhibitory effect of brain extract at high concentrations was relieved by the addition of iron. Activity of brain extract was reduced by treatment with an iron-chelating agent and fully restored by the readdition of iron. Double immunodiffusion of newt tissue extracts and antibodies against newt plasma transferrin demonstrated the presence of transferrin-like factors in brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve. These results indicate that activity of transferrin may be part of the trophic effect of brain extract on cultured blastemas.

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