VEGF-C is a trophic factor for neural progenitors in the vertebrate embryonic brain.
From Nature Neuroscience
Feb 5, 2006
 Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), U711, Paris F-75013, France.
 Universite Pierre & Marie Curie, Faculte de Medecine Pitie Salpetriere, IFR 70, Paris F-75005, France.
 These authors contributed equally to this work.
Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) was first identified as a regulator of the vascular system, where it is required for the development of lymphatic vessels. Here we report actions of VEGF-C in the central nervous system. We detected the expression of the VEGF-C receptor VEGFR-3 in neural progenitor cells in Xenopus laevis and mouse embryos. In Xenopus tadpole VEGF-C knockdowns and in mice lacking Vegfc, the proliferation of neural progenitors expressing VEGFR-3 was severely reduced, in the absence of intracerebral blood vessel defects. In addition, Vegfc-deficient mouse embryos showed a selective loss of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in the embryonic optic nerve. In vitro, VEGF-C stimulated the proliferation of OPCs expressing VEGFR-3 and nestin-positive ventricular neural cells. VEGF-C thus has a new, evolutionary conserved function as a growth factor selectively required by neural progenitor cells expressing its receptor VEGFR-3.PMID: 16462734 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]