The effects of subcultured astrocytes on the proliferation of neuronal precursor cells (neuroblasts) from rat embryonic cerebral hemispheres were examined. The survivability of neurons and the neurite outgrowth were significantly enhanced by the subcultured astrocytes compared to those of neurons plated on poly-l-lysine-coated coverslips. The incorporation of [3H]thymidine into neuroblasts was remarkably suppressed by the subcultured astrocytes indicating that the astrocytes inhibit the proliferation of neuroblasts. These results suggest that astrocytes enhance the maturation of neuroblasts possibly via either cell-cell contact or trophic substances.
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