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J Neurosci. 1998 Oct 1;18(19):7869-80.

Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) promotes acquisition of epidermal growth factor (EGF) responsiveness in mouse striatal precursor cells: identification of neural precursors responding to both EGF and FGF-2.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, Cambridge CB2 2PY, England.


Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) induce the proliferation of neural precursor cells isolated from specific regions of the embryonic and adult brain. However, the lineage relationship between the EGF- and FGF-2-responsive cells is unknown. In this study we used phosphorylation of the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein as a functional readout to identify cells responding to EGF and FGF-2. In primary cultures of mouse embryonic day 14 (E14) striatum, maintained in vitro for 24 hr, 12% of the cells responded to FGF-2, whereas no response to EGF could be detected. Seventy-five percent of these FGF-2-responsive cells were beta tubulin III (TuJ1)-positive neurons, and 25% expressed nestin, a marker for neuroepithelial precursors. After growth factor treatment for 6 d, a population of nestin-positive cells responding to both EGF and FGF-2 were identified. The 6-d-old cultures also contained a small number of TuJ1-positive cells that responded to FGF-2 only. Priming of striatal cells for 24 hr with FGF-2 but not with EGF was sufficient to induce the appearance of EGF- and FGF-2 responsive cells after only 2 d in vitro. Thus, neural precursor cells from the mouse E14 striatum initially responding to FGF-2 only acquire EGF responsiveness later during in vitro development. At this stage EGF and FGF-2 act on the same cells. The acquisition of EGF responsiveness is promoted by FGF-2.

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