Expression of a novel member of the TGF-beta superfamily, growth/differentiation factor-15/macrophage-inhibiting cytokine-1 (GDF-15/MIC-1) in adult rat tissues

Cell Tissue Res. 1999 Jul;297(1):103-10. doi: 10.1007/s004410051337.


We have cloned a novel member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily from a human placental cDNA library. The sequence is identical to five very recently published sequences, of which only one (macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1, MIC-1) has been characterized in terms of function. In light of the present data demonstrating the wide distribution of the mRNA and putative multifunctionality, we propose to name this molecule growth/differentiation factor-15/MIC-1 (GDF-15/MIC-1). The deduced amino acid sequence reveals typical features of a secreted molecule. The epithelium of the choroid plexus is the only site in the adult brain expressing detectable levels of GDF-15/MIC-1 mRNA. Many epithelia of non-neural tissues including those of the prostate and intestinal mucosa, bronchi and bronchioli, secretory tubuli of the submandibular gland, and lactating mammary gland are prominent sites of GDF-15/MIC-1 synthesis. GDF-15/MIC-1 is also strongly expressed by macrophages in the adrenal gland. Thus, GDF-15/MIC-1, like many other members of the TGF-beta superfamily, is widely distributed in adult tissues, being most strongly expressed in epithelial cells and macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Choroid Plexus / cytology
  • Choroid Plexus / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Library
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Specificity
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics


  • Cytokines
  • GDF15 protein, human
  • Gdf15 protein, mouse
  • Gdf15 protein, rat
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta