FGF-2 Up-regulation and Proliferation of Neural Progenitors in the Regenerating Amphibian Spinal Cord in Vivo

F Zhang, J D Clarke, P Ferretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Regeneration of the spinal cord occurs spontaneously in adult urodele amphibians. The key cells in this regenerative process appear to be the ependymal cells that following injury migrate and proliferate to form the ependymal tube from which the spinal cord regenerates. Very little is known about the signal(s) that initiates and maintains the proliferative response of these cells. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) has been shown to play a role in maintaining neural progenitor cell cycling in vitro and may be important for neuronal survival and axonal growth after injury. We have investigated its role in regeneration of the spinal cord in vivo following tail amputation in the adult salamander, Pleurodeles waltl. We show that only the low-molecular-weight form of FGF-2 is found in Pleurodeles and that in the normal cord it is expressed in a subset of neurons, but is hardly detectable in ependymal cells. Tail amputation results in induction of FGF-2 in the ependymal cells of the regenerating structure, and later in regeneration FGF-2 is up-regulated in some newborn neurons. FGF-2 pattern of expression in the ependymal tube parallels that of proliferation. Furthermore, exogenous FGF-2 significantly increases ependymal cell proliferation in vivo. Overall our results strongly support the view that one important role of FGF-2 during spinal cord regeneration in Pleurodeles is to induce proliferation of neural progenitor cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-391
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2000


  • Animals
  • Spinal Cord
  • Amputation
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Humans
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Pleurodeles
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Base Sequence
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neurons
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Tail
  • Stem Cells


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