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J Neurosci. 1997 Oct 15;17(20):7850-9.

Transforming growth factor-alpha null and senescent mice show decreased neural progenitor cell proliferation in the forebrain subependyma.

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  • 1Neurobiology Research Group, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


The adult mammalian forebrain subependyma contains neural stem cells and their progeny, the constitutively proliferating progenitor cells. Using bromodeoxyuridine labeling to detect mitotically active cells, we demonstrate that the endogenous expression of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFalpha) is necessary for the full proliferation of progenitor cells localized to the dorsolateral corner of the subependyma and the full production of the neuronal progenitors that migrate to the olfactory bulbs. Proliferation of these progenitor cells also is diminished with age (in 23- to 25-months-old compared with 2- to 4-months-old mice), likely because of a lengthening of the cell cycle. Senescence or the absence of endogenous TGFalpha does not affect the numbers of neural stem cells isolated in vitro in the presence of epidermal growth factor. These results suggest that endogenous TGFalpha and the effects of senescence may regulate the proliferation of progenitor cells in the adult subependyma, but that the number of neural stem cells is maintained throughout life.

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