Involvement of Pleiotrophin in CNTF-mediated differentiation of the late retinal progenitor cells

Dev Biol. 2006 Oct 15;298(2):527-39. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.07.003. Epub 2006 Jul 12.


Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) participates in retinal development by inhibiting rod differentiation and promoting bipolar and Müller cell differentiation. In order to identify genes which are regulated by CNTF in the developing retina, we carried out a subtractive hybridization study. By this approach, we identified the Pleiotrophin (Ptn) as an upregulated gene in postnatal day 0 (P0) retinal explants upon addition of CNTF. Correlation of overall expression patterns between different retinal cell markers and Ptn in situ hybridization suggest that Ptn transcripts are initially expressed in progenitor cells then in postmitotic precursors of the INL expressing the Chx10 gene, and later in some differentiated retinal Müller glial (RMG) cells and rod-bipolar cells. Overexpression of Ptn by in vitro electroporation of P0 rat retinal explants partially blocks rod differentiation and promotes bipolar cell production, similar to effects of exogenous CNTF and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Furthermore, in P0 retinal explants from mice lacking Ptn, the inhibitory effect of CNTF and LIF on rod differentiation is partially reduced and the cytokine-induced bipolar cell differentiation is largely prevented. Together, these results demonstrate that influence of CNTF family of cytokines on the differentiation of late retinal progenitor cell population is partially mediated by the release of Ptn.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Cytokines
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • pleiotrophin