Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Promotes Axon Branching of Cortical Neurons by Influencing Morphology and Behavior of the Primary Growth Cone

Györgyi Szebenyi, Erik W. Dent, John L. Callaway, Chad Seys, Helen Lueth, Katherine Kalil
2001 Journal of Neuroscience  
Interstitial branching is an important mechanism for target innervation in the developing CNS. A previous study of cortical neurons in vitro showed that the terminal growth cone pauses and enlarges in regions from which interstitial axon branches later develop (Szebenyi et al., 1998) . In the present study, we investigated how target-derived signals affect the morphology and behaviors of growth cones leading to development of axon branches. We used bath and local application of a targetderived
more » ... rowth factor, FGF-2, on embryonic pyramidal neurons from the sensorimotor cortex and used time-lapse digital imaging to monitor effects of FGF-2 on axon branching. Observations of developing neurons over periods of several days showed that bath-applied FGF-2 significantly increased growth cone size and slowed growth cone advance, leading to a threefold increase in axon branching. FGF-2 also had acute effects on growth cone morphology, promoting rapid growth of filopodia within minutes. Application of FGF-2-coated beads promoted local axon branching in close proximity to the beads. Branching was more likely to occur when the FGF-2 bead was on or near the growth cone, suggesting that distal regions of the axon are more responsive to FGF-2 than other regions of the axon shaft. Together, these results show that interstitial axon branches can be induced locally through the action of a targetderived growth factor that preferentially exerts effects on the growth cone. We suggest that, in target regions, growth factors such as FGF-2 and other branching factors may induce formation of collateral axon branches by enhancing the pausing and enlargement of primary growth cones that determine future branch points.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.21-11-03932.2001 pmid:11356881 fatcat:tyaropwimra5vmxdmvg7hc2n3a