Effects of several growth factors on cultured neurofibroma cells

J Dermatol Sci. 1992 May;3(3):137-44. doi: 10.1016/0923-1811(92)90027-9.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common autosomal dominant disorder characterized by abnormalities affecting multiple tissues derived from the neural crest. The peripheral neurofibromas are numerous and sometimes reach several hundred in number. In this study, the possible involvement of several growth factors in neurofibroma growth was investigated in vitro. When explants of neurofibroma tissue were cultured, macrophage-like cells with pseudopodia migrated out first, and later took on a slender fusiform shape. These cells contained S-100 protein and were identified as Schwann cells. They did not proliferate under standard culture conditions. Nerve growth factor (NGF) was helpful in maintaining the differentiated phenotype of Schwann cells, but did not stimulate their proliferation. Immunohistochemical staining for type IV collagen revealed that some large flattened polygonal cells had a mesh of type IV collagen on the surface. These cells were perineurial cells. The proliferation of cells derived from neurofibroma was stimulated by basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha). In comparison with skin fibroblasts, the cells derived from neurofibroma responded to these growth factors at considerably lower concentrations. Stimulation by EGF at physiological concentrations indicated the possible involvement of EGF in the development of neurofibromas.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / metabolism
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology*
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology


  • Growth Substances
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • S100 Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Collagen