HGF promotes survival and growth of maturing sympathetic neurons by PI-3 kinase- and MAP kinase-dependent mechanisms

Jane Thompson, Xavier Dolcet, Mark Hilton, Mary Tolcos, Alun Davies

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a pleiotrophic factor whose many functions include promoting neuronal survival and growth. Hitherto, these effects have been observed in the presence of other neurotrophic factors like NGF and CNTF, and this requirement for an accessory factor has made it difficult to elucidate the signaling pathways that mediate its survival and growth-enhancing effects. Here, we show that HGF promotes the survival of mature sympathetic neurons of the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) grown at low density in defined medium lacking other neurotrophic factors. This effect was first clearly observed in cultures established from postnatal day 20 (P20) mice and became maximal by P40. HGF also enhanced the growth of neurite arbors from neurons throughout postnatal development and in the adult. HGF treatment resulted in phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/ERK2. Preventing Akt activation with the phosphatidylinositol-3 (PI-3) kinase inhibitor LY294002 blocked the HGF survival response, and inhibition of ERK activation with the MEK inhibitors PD98059 or U0126 reduced the HGF survival response and the neurite growth-promoting effects of HGF. These results indicate that HGF promotes the survival and growth of maturing sympathetic neurons by both PI-3 kinase- and MAP kinase-dependent mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441 - 452
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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