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Brain Res. 1984 Jun 8;302(2):323-34.

Effects of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-II and nerve growth factor on neurite outgrowth in cultured human neuroblastoma cells.


The identification of biologically important and chemically well-defined substances that can promote axon and dendrite formation would improve present understanding of the development of the nervous system. Physiological concentrations of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) reversibly enhanced neurite outgrowth (NTO) in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells cultured in media with and without serum. Nerve growth factor (NGF), in contrast, did not enhance NTO in serum-free media. Furthermore, anti-NGF antiserum inhibited NGF but not insulin-enhanced NTO. Insulin increased [3H]leucine and [3H]uridine uptake. These increases, together with increased NTO, were inhibited by cycloheximide and actinomycin D, respectively. The inhibition of NTO by cycloheximide was reversible. Human neuroblastoma cell lines that were responsive by NTO to NGF were also responsive to insulin, with the exception of line CHP-270. Moreover, cell lines unresponsive by NTO to NGF, and to tumor promoters, were uniformly unresponsive to insulin. These findings suggest that there are common defects in distal sites, because specific NGF and tumor promotor receptors are present in these lines. Insulin increased [3H]thymidine uptake in SH-SY5Y and CHP-100 cells. However, the enhancement of NTO by insulin and IGF-II in SH-SY5Y cells was independent of the cellular proliferation rate. Our results, together with the observations of others, suggest that insulin and IGF-II may modulate NTO in the nervous system.

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