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

Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) differentially regulates connexin (cx) 43 expression and function in astroglial cells from distinct brain regions.

Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 is a peptide growth factor that promotes the generation, differentiation, and survival of neurons and glial cells. In the CNS, astroglial cells are coupled in a region-specific manner by gap junctions consisting of connexin 43 (cx43). In the present study we have investigated effects of FGF-2 and of other growth factors on the expression and function of cx43 in astroglial cells cultured from telencephalic cortex, striatum, and mesencephalon of newborn rats. Confluent cultures were maintained for two days in low serum, and then exposed to FGF-2 (10 ng/ml) for 48 h. FGF-2 caused a reduction of cx43-protein, -mRNA, and intercellular communication revealed by dye spreading. These changes occurred in cortical and striatal cells, but not in mesencephalic astroglial cells. Effects of FGF-2 were time- and concentration-dependent, with a minimal effective dose of 1 ng/ml FGF-2, and an onset of effects after 6 h of incubation. The reduction of coupling by FGF-2 was transient, since in cortical and striatal cultures coupling recovered to control levels 48 h after removal of the growth factor. Like FGF-2, transforming growth factor-beta3 (TGF-beta3) decreased coupling of cortical and striatal, but not mesencephalic astroglial cells. Astroglial cells from all brain regions showed a slight FGF-mediated increase in 5-bromo-2'-desoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation, which was abolished upon co-treatment with TGF-beta3. However, TGF-beta3 did not interfere with the repression of cx43- function by FGF-2. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) that has been demonstrated to influence coupling in other cell types had no effect on dye spreading but significantly increased BrdU incorporation. Our results reveal a novel function of FGF-2 on cultured astroglial cells which may be relevant to the regulation of astroglial cell connectivity in vivo.[1]


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