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J Neurobiol. 1994 Jul;25(7):797-807.

FGF and EGF are mitogens for immortalized neural progenitors.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


Individual neural progenitors, derived from the external germinal layer of neonatal murine cerebellum, were previously immortalized by the retrovirus-mediated transduction of avian myc (v-myc). C17-2 is one of those clonal multipotent progenitor cell lines (Snyder et al., 1992, Cell 68: 33-51; Ryder et al., 1990, J. Neurobiol. 21:356-375). When transplanted into newborn mouse cerebellum (CB), the cells participate in normal CB development; they engraft in a cytoarchitecturally appropriate, nontumorigenic manner and differentiate into multiple CB cell types (neuronal and glial) similar to endogenous progenitors (Snyder et al., 1992, as above). They also appear to engraft and participate in the development of multiple other structures along the neural axis and at multiple other stages (Snyder et al., 1993, Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 19). Thus conclusions regarding these immortalized progenitors may be applicable to endogenous neural progenitors in vivo. To help identify and analyze factors that promote differentiation of endogenous progenitors, we first investigated the ability to maintain C17-2 cells in a defined, serum-free medium (N2). The cells survive in vitro in N2 but undergo mitosis at a very low rate. Addition of epidermal growth factor (EGF), however, either from mouse submaxillary gland or the human recombinant protein, appreciably stimulates thymidine incorporation and cell division approximately threefold. Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is an even more potent mitogen, promoting thymidine incorporation, cell division, and a net increase in cell number equal to that in serum. Both EGF and bFGF are active at very low nanomolar concentrations, suggesting that they interact with their respective receptors rather than a homologous receptor system. The findings demonstrate that C17-2 cells can be maintained and propagated in a fully defined medium, providing the basis for analysis of other growth and differentiation factors. That EGF and particularly bFGF are mitogenic for these cells is in accord with recent observations on primary neural tissue (Reynolds and Weiss, 1992, Science 255:1707-1710; Kilpatrick and Bartlett, 1993, Neuron 10:255-265; Ray et al., 1993, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:3602-3606) suggesting that bFGF and EGF responsiveness may be fundamental properties of neural progenitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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