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Responsiveness of astrocytes in serum-free aggregate cultures to epidermal growth factor: dependence on the cell cycle and the epidermal growth factor concentration.
Serum-free aggregating cell cultures of fetal rat telencephalon treated with low doses (0.5 nM) of epidermal growth factor (EGF) showed a small, transient increase in DNA synthesis but no significant changes in total DNA and protein content. By contrast, treatment with high doses (13 nM) of EGF caused a marked stimulation of DNA synthesis as well as a net increase in DNA and protein content. The expression of the astrocyte-specific enzyme, glutamine synthetase, was greatly enhanced both at low and at high EGF concentrations. These results suggest that at low concentration EGF stimulates exclusively the differentiation of astrocytes, whereas at high concentration, EGF has also a mitogenic effect. Nonproliferating astrocytes in cultures treated with 0.4 microM 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl-cytosine were refractory to EGF treatment, indicating that their responsiveness to EGF is cell cycle-dependent. Binding studies using a crude membrane fraction of 5-day cultures showed a homogeneous population of EGF binding sites (Kd approximately equal to 2.6 nM). Specific EGF binding sites were found also in non-proliferating (and nonresponsive) cultures, although they showed slightly reduced affinity and binding capacity. This finding suggests that the cell cycle-dependent control of astroglial responsiveness to EGF does not occur at the receptor level. However, it was found that the specific EGF binding sites disappear with progressive cellular differentiation.
Animals, Animals, Newborn, Astrocytes/cytology, Astrocytes/drug effects, Cell Aggregation, Cell Cycle/drug effects, Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, Culture Media, Epidermal Growth Factor/metabolism, Epidermal Growth Factor/pharmacology, Mitosis/drug effects, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor, Receptors, Cell Surface/analysis
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