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Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) and TGF-beta 2 were found to be potent mitogens for purified rat Schwann cells, each stimulating DNA synthesis in quiescent cells and also increasing their proliferation rate. Half-maximal stimulation of DNA synthesis occurred at approximately 0.1 ng/ml TGF-beta 1 or TGF-beta 2. Mitogenic stimulation by TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 was enhanced by forskolin, which activates adenylate cyclase, at concentrations up to 0.5 microM forskolin. However, at 5 microM forskolin, the synergistic interaction between forskolin and TGF-beta 1 was abolished. These results are in contrast to the observed synergy between forskolin and another Schwann cell mitogen, glial growth factor (GGF). Both 0.5 and 5 microM forskolin were found to enhance the stimulation of DNA synthesis by partially purified GGF (GGF-CM). As well as being functionally distinct, TGF-beta 1 and GGF-CM activities were also physically separable by chromatography on a Superose 12 gel permeation column. Thus, TGF-beta 1 and beta 2 are rat Schwann cell mitogens, and Schwann cells are one of the few normal cell populations to respond mitogenically to TGF-beta.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Cell Biology


Rockefeller University Press

Publication Date





3419 - 3424