Mitogenesis in glioblastoma multiforme cell lines: A role for NGF and its TrkA receptors

Harvey S. Singer, Bendt Hansen, Daniel Martinie, Christopher L. Karp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Neurotrophins have definitive roles in the growth/maintenance of neuronal populations, but their function in malignant gliomas is unknown. The ability for nerve growth factor (NGF) to serve as a mitogenic agent was investigated in several human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cell lines, including U251, U87, and U373. In a serum-free medium, the addition of NGF (200 ng/ml) to these cell lines increased cell counts over controls, after 3 days in culture by 9%, 16%, and 33%, respectively. Dose-dependent increases in cell counts and [3H]thymidine uptake were found in the more rigorously investigated U373 cell line. Proteins for both the high affinity NGF-specific tyrosine kinase binding site (p140(TrkA); TrkA) and the low affinity neurotrophin (p75(NTR)) receptor were present in all three GBM cell lines. TrkA mRNA was identified in U373 (only cell line studied). NGF-stimulated proliferation was inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion by K252a, a blocker of Trk-induced receptor kinases. NGF, measured by ELISA, was detectable in all GBM cell lines even after 7 days of growth in serum-free medium. These data suggest that GBM cell growth can be enhanced by NGF acting via Trk receptor phosphorylation. Future studies of antiproliferative therapies should consider agents directed against intracellular Trk signaling cascades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Mitogenesis
  • Nerve growth factor (NGF)
  • TrkA receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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