Interferon-γ promotes differentiation of neural progenitor cells via the JNK pathway

So Jung Kim, Tae Gen Son, Keunho Kim, Hee Ra Park, Mark P. Mattson, Jaewon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


It has been reported that interferon-γ (IFN-γ) facilitates differentiation of PC-12 cells and murine adult neural stem cells. Here we show that IFN-γ promotes the differentiation of C17.2 neural progenitor cells (NPC) into a neuronal phenotype characterized by neurite outgrowth and the expression of the neuronal marker protein β-III tubulin. IFN-γ induced an increase in the activity c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) without affecting activities of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs 1 and 2). An inhibitor of JNK blocked the ability of IFN-γ to promote differentiation of NPC into neurons, whereas an inhibitor of ERKs 1 and 2 did not. Our findings show that the pro-inflammatory cytokine, IFN-γ has the potential to stimulate neurogenesis, suggesting roles for this cytokine in development and repair of the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1406
Number of pages8
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • ERK
  • Inflammation
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry


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