Serum mitogenic activity on in vitro glial cells in Neurofibromatosis type 1

Brain Res. 1998 May 18;793(1-2):21-8. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(98)00016-x.


Glial mitogenic effect was investigated in sera from the following groups of subjects: group (1) 31 patients clinically and genetically affected by Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) belonging to different families; group (2) 42 patients without family history of NF1 affected by sporadic neoplasms of the same histogenetic origin as the proliferative lesions that are present in NF1; group (3) 51 healthy volunteers without family history of NF1 nor of neoplastic disease; group (4) 54 clinically healthy relatives of the NF1 patients included in the first group. All NF1 patients and 3/54 healthy relatives had alterations of exons 31 or 32 of NF1 gene. Glial proliferation, measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation, was significantly increased by sera from all NF1 patients and from 23/54 of clinically healthy relatives, as compared to sera from healthy volunteers. This serum mitogenic activity strongly suggests the existence of soluble glial proliferating molecules in NF1 families. The molecular weight (3-30 kDa), the heat- and freeze-stability and the specificity for glial cells, suggest that the molecules responsible for this mitogenic effect are different from the growth factors previously described in NF1-associated tumor extracts and from lymphokines. Within each NF1 family, the maximal serum dilution stimulating glial proliferation was similar both in affected members and in their clinically healthy relatives. Since none of the clinically healthy relatives showing serum mitogenic activity was positive for the NF1 mutation analysis and, conversely, those having altered exons 31 or 32 of NF1 gene did not show any mitogenic activity; these results suggest that the phenotype expression of NF1 might depend not only on the NF1 mutations per se, but also on other genetic or epigenetic factors, such as serum glial proliferating molecules.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glioma
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes
  • Mitogens / blood*
  • Mitogens / physiology*
  • Mitosis / drug effects
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / blood*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / genetics
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology*
  • Neuroglia / drug effects
  • Neuroglia / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Thymidine / analysis
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Tritium
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Mitogens
  • Tritium
  • Thymidine