Leukemia inhibitory factor inhibits neuronal terminal differentiation through STAT3 activation

Cheil Moon, Joo Yeon Yoo, Valéry Matarazzo, Young Kwan Sung, Esther J. Kim, Gabriele V. Ronnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The discovery of stem cells in the adult central nervous system raises questions concerning the neurotrophic factors that regulate postnatal neuronal development. Olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) are a useful model, because they are capable of robust neurogenesis throughout adulthood. We have investigated the role of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in postnatal neuronal development by using ORNs as a model. LIF is a multifunctional cytokine implicated in various aspects of neuronal development, including phenotype determination, survival, and in response to nerve injury. LIF-deficient mice display significant increases, both in the absolute amount and in the number of cells expressing olfactory marker protein, a marker of mature ORNs. The maturation of ORNs was significantly inhibited by LIF in vitro. LIF activated the STAT3 pathway in ORNs, and transfection of ORNs with a dominant negative form of STAT3 abolished the effect of LIF. These findings demonstrate that LIF negatively regulates ORN maturation via the STAT3 pathway. Thus, LIF plays a critical role in controlling the transition of ORNs to maturity. Consequently, a population of ORNs is maintained in an immature state to facilitate the rapid repopulation of the olfactory epithelium with mature neurons during normal cell turnover or after injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9015-9020
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 25 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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