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J Neurosci. 1998 Feb 15;18(4):1440-8.

Synergistic effects of schwann- and muscle-derived factors on motoneuron survival involve GDNF and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1).

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U.382, Marseille, France.


The survival of central neurons depends on multiple neurotrophic factors produced by different cell types. We demonstrate that media conditioned by muscle and Schwann cell lines show strong synergistic effects on survival of purified embryonic day 14.5 rat motoneurons in culture. Different lines of evidence implicate glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1) in this synergy. Their expression in the environment of the motoneuron is compartmentalized: gdnf transcripts are expressed principally in Schwann cell lines, whereas ct-1 mRNA is present in myotubes. Blocking antibodies to GDNF inhibit the trophic activity of Schwann cell line-conditioned media by 75%, whereas CT-1 antibodies diminish the myotube-derived activity by 46%. CT-1 and GDNF act synergistically to enhance motoneuron survival in vitro. In vivo, individual motoneurons coexpress both GDNF and CT-1 receptor components. GDNF and CT-1, therefore, are major components of the trophic support provided by the Schwann and muscle cells, respectively. The possibility that they act together on individual motoneurons suggests that the motoneuron must integrate distinct signals from different cellular partners when deciding whether to die or to survive.

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