Cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) are probable factors responsible for up-regulation of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) expression in reactive astrocytes following brain damage, however the effect of these cytokines on the expression of each bFGF-isoform has not been elucidated. Western blot analysis revealed the expression of 18, 22 and 24-kD hFGF isoforms in cultured rat hippocampal astrocytes, and the expression of high molecular weight (HMW)-isoforms (22 and 24-kD isoforms) but not of 18-kD isoform was selectively increased by cytokines. Immunofluorescent analysis demonstrated that bFGF content in the cytoplasm of astrocytes is initially increased by cytokines followed by nuclear targeting and localization in agreement with the previous evidence that HMW-isoforms possess a nuclear targeting signal. The present results suggest the important role of HMW-bFGF isoforms in the response of nervous tissue to injury.
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