Pancreatic β cells synthesize and secrete nerve growth factor

Tamara Rosenbaum, Román Vidaltamayo, Ma Carmen Sánchez-Soto, Alejandro Zentella, Marcia Hiriart

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103 Citations (Scopus)


Differentiation and function of pancreatic β cells are regulated by a variety of hormones and growth factors, including nerve growth factor (NGF). Whether this is an endocrine or autocrine/paracrine role for NGF is not known. We demonstrate that NGF is produced and secreted by adult rat pancreatic β cells. NGF secretion is increased in response to elevated glucose or potassium, but decreased in response to dibutyryl cAMP. Moreover, steady-state levels of NGF mRNA are down-regulated by dibutyryl cAMP, which is opposite to the effect of CAMP on insulin release. NGF-stimulated changes in morphology and function are mediated by high-affinity Trk A receptors in other mammalian cells. Trk A receptors are present in β cells and steady- state levels of Trk A mRNA are modulated by NGF and dibutyryl cAMP. Taken together, these findings suggest endocrine and autocrine roles for pancreatic β-cell NGF, which, in turn, could be related to the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus where serum NGF levels are diminished.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7784-7788
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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