In vivo neurogenesis is inhibited by neutralizing antibodies to basic fibroblast growth factor

J Neurobiol. 1997 Sep;33(3):289-96.


While extracellular growth factors govern neuronal precursor mitosis in culture, little is known about their roles in regulating neurogenesis in vivo. Previously, we reported that subcutaneously administered basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) promoted neuroblast proliferation in P1 rat brain, in regions in which bFGF and FGF receptors are expressed during development. To define the role of endogenous bFGF in neurogenesis, we employed a neutralizing monoclonal antibody to the factor. In culture, bFGF-induced granule precursor proliferation was progressively inhibited by increasing concentrations of antibody. In contrast, heat-inactivated or nonneutralizing anti-bFGF antibodies were ineffective. The inhibition was specific for bFGF, since EGF-induced [3H]dT incorporation was not altered. To study effects in vivo, neutralizing antibody was administered to newborn rats via the cisterna magnum. Four hours after injection, DNA synthesis in cerebellum and hippocampus was decreased by 53% and 63%, respectively, suggesting that endogenous bFGF was involved in brain development. To define effects on neurogenesis specifically, granule cell precursors were isolated after antibody treatment. [3H]dT incorporation in granule precursors was decreased by 50%, indicating that the neutralizing antibody inhibited neuroblast proliferation in vivo. In contrast, no reduction was observed using nonneutralizing or the heat-inactivated antibodies. The inhibition of precursor proliferation following immunoneutralization of bFGF in vivo suggests that the endogenous factor normally regulates brain neurogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Binding, Competitive / immunology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / immunology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2