A Subset of Fibroblast Growth Factors (Fgfs) Promote Survival, but Fgf-8b Specifically Promotes Astroglial Differentiation of Rat Cortical Precursor Cells

Mol Cell Neurosci. 1999 Dec;14(6):468-85. doi: 10.1006/mcne.1999.0800.


Fibroblast growth factor-2 (Fgf-2 or basic Fgf) is known to promote the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of neural precursor cells. We have examined and compared the effects of Fgf-2 with those of Fgf-1, -4, -6, -7, -9, and -10, as well as three isoforms of Fgf-8 (-8a, -8b, and -8c), on the fate of cultured embryonic day 15 (E15) rat cortical cells. Clonal analysis, using retroviral tagging, shows that only Fgf-2, -4, and -8b can efficiently promote the survival of cortical precursor cells, the majority of which give rise to neurons. Surprisingly, and in contrast to other Fgfs, Fgf-8b also promotes astroglial differentiation of a subpopulation of these cells, which would otherwise appear to yield neurons. We also show that E15 cortical cells initially express the IIIc isoforms of Fgf-receptors (R-1,-2, and -3 but within 16 h of culturing they down regulate FgfR2-IIIc. These studies demonstrate that cortical precursor cells respond to Fgf stimulation in different ways depending on the ligand and by inference the Fgf receptors activated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 8
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / physiology
  • Retroviridae / isolation & purification
  • Retroviridae / physiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects


  • Fgf8 protein, mouse
  • Fgf8 protein, rat
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 8
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors