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Nat Neurosci. March 1, 2006; 9 (3): 340-8.

VEGF-C is a trophic factor for neural progenitors in the vertebrate embryonic brain.

Le Bras B , Barallobre MJ , Homman-Ludiye J , Ny A , Wyns S , Tammela T , Haiko P , Karkkainen MJ , Yuan L , Muriel MP , Chatzopoulou E , Bréant C , Zalc B , Carmeliet P , Alitalo K , Eichmann A , Thomas JL .

Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) was first identified as a regulator of the vascular system, where it is required for the development of lymphatic vessels. Here we report actions of VEGF-C in the central nervous system. We detected the expression of the VEGF-C receptor VEGFR-3 in neural progenitor cells in Xenopus laevis and mouse embryos. In Xenopus tadpole VEGF-C knockdowns and in mice lacking Vegfc, the proliferation of neural progenitors expressing VEGFR-3 was severely reduced, in the absence of intracerebral blood vessel defects. In addition, Vegfc-deficient mouse embryos showed a selective loss of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in the embryonic optic nerve. In vitro, VEGF-C stimulated the proliferation of OPCs expressing VEGFR-3 and nestin-positive ventricular neural cells. VEGF-C thus has a new, evolutionary conserved function as a growth factor selectively required by neural progenitor cells expressing its receptor VEGFR-3.

PubMed ID: 16462734
Article link: Nat Neurosci.
Grant support: R01 HL075183-02 NHLBI NIH HHS

Genes referenced: flt4 nes vegfa vegfc

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