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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protein from chromaffin granules promotes survival of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons by an EGF-receptor ligand-mediated mechanism.

Chromaffin cells grafted to the brain of animals with experimental parkinsonism and patients with Parkinson's disease can restore nigrostriatal functions. Mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects are unknown, but may include growth factors rather than the minute amounts of dopamine (DA) liberated from chromaffin cells. We now report that protein from chromaffin granules, which release their contents by exocytosis, promotes survival and uptake of 3H-DA of mesencephalic DAergic neurons in vitro and protect against N-methylpyridinium ion toxicity. This neurotrophic effect is accompanied by cell proliferation and mediated by astroglial cells induced in these cultures. Inhibition of cell proliferation and concomitant astrogliosis by 5-fluorodeoxyuridine and alpha-aminoadipic acid abolishes the trophic effect. Two highly specific inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor ( EGFR) signal transduction pathway, 4,5-dianilinophthalimide (10 microM) and tyrphostin B56 (10 microM), selectively block the neurotrophic capacity of chromaffin granule protein. As expected, they also block the mitogenic effects of EGF and TGF-alpha. However, these two mitogens do not mimic the pronounced mitogenic and trophic actions of chromaffin granule protein. Culture medium conditioned by mesencephalic cells pretreated with chromaffin granule protein promotes survival of DAergic neurons without increasing numbers of astroglial cells. The effective molecule is unlikely to be glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, whose mRNA is not detectable in cultures treated with chromaffin granule protein. We conclude that chromaffin granules contain a putatively novel growth factor, which signals through the EGFR and may be responsible for the known protective and restorative actions of chromaffin cell grafts to the lesioned nigrostriatal system.[1]


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