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Dev Biol. 1984 May;103(1):62-70.

The ontogeny of epidermal growth factor receptors during mouse development.


In an attempt to understand the role(s) of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in vivo during murine development, we have examined the 125I-EGF binding characteristics of EGF-receptors in membrane preparations of tissues from the 12th day of gestation to parturition. Using autoradiography, the earliest time that we could detect EGF-receptors was on trophoblast cells cultured for 3 days as blastocyst outgrowths. Trophoblast eventually forms a large portion of the placenta, where EGF-receptors have long been recognized. We measured the number and affinity of EGF-receptors on tissues dissected from conceptuses from the 12th day of gestation in order to identify a stage when tissues may be most sensitive to EGF. Whereas the number of EGF receptors increases during gestation for all tissues examined, the affinity of the receptors declines for carcass and placenta and remains relatively unchanged for brain and liver. This suggests that EGF may function differently throughout development. Our hypothesis is that EGF (or its embryonic equivalent) initially stimulates proliferation in embryonic cells and then stimulates differentiation as the tissues mature. In the adult, its main role could be to stimulate tissue repair after damage.

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