Acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) enhances nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis by astrocytes obtained from various brain regions. NGF secretion by fibrous-shaped astrocytes transformed by dibutyryl-cAMP (db-cAMP) pretreatment was less than that by untreated astrocytes. However, aFGF also enhanced NGF secretion by fibrous-shaped astrocytes. The effects of various kinds of intracellular signaling modulators on NGF synthesis were examined. None of the following second messenger effectors had an effect on NGF synthesis: protein kinase C (PKC) agonist (phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)) or antagonist (sphingosine (SP)). LiCl, and ionomycin (Iono). Further, increases of intracellular cAMP by forskolin (FK) or db-cAMP have no significant effect on NGF synthesis in astrocytes under a standard culture condition. However, NGF synthesis by astrocytes in the presence of aFGF was significantly enhanced by db-cAMP, but not by FK or sodium butyrate. These results indicate that an excessive amount of cAMP enhances the effect of aFGF on NGF synthesis in astrocytes. NGF synthesis in astrocytes was not affected by treatment with anti-aFGF or anti-bFGF neutralizing antibodies, indicating that FGFs are not involved in the autocrine regulation of NGF synthesis in astrocytes. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), which inhibits some effects of FGFs, increased NGF synthesis in concert with aFGF. Furthermore, the highest NGF synthesis was observed when astrocytes were stimulated by all of the following cytokines: aFGF, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and TGF-β1. The mechanism regulating NGF synthesis in fibroblasts obtained from prenatal rat skin was also investigated. Acidic FGF, basic FGF (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α), TGF-β1, IL-1β, and TNF-α were found to be regulators of NGF synthesis in skin fibroblasts. Among these cytokines, aFGF is the most potent regulator of NGF synthesis in fibroblasts. NGF synthesis by skin fibroblasts, either in the presence or absence of aFGF, was not modified by any of the following: FK, PMA, SP, LiCl, and Iono. However, db-cAMP significantly enhanced NGF synthesis in both conditions. Sodium butyrate enhanced NGF synthesis in the presence of aFGF, but not in the absence of aFGF. These results suggest that an excessive amount of cAMP and butyrate moiety regulate NGF synthesis in skin fibroblasts in different ways. Finally, the effects of cytokines, which can regulate NGF synthesis in skin fibroblasts, were found to be cooperative except in the following two combinations: aFGF+bFGF and EGF+TGF-α. These results demonstrate that NGF synthesis in both astrocytes and fibroblasts is cooperatively regulated by cytokines.
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