Glia maturation factor promotes proliferation and morphologic expression of rat Schwann cells

E. Peter Bosch, Jose G. Assouline, Joyce F. Miller, Ramon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Glia maturation factor (GMF) is an acidic protein with a molecular weight of about 20,000 daltons, found in the adult brain of many species. Previously GMF was observed to stimulate the proliferation and subsequent maturation of rat astroblasts in culture. We investigated the effects of GMF on Schwann cells. Schwann cells were dissociated from rat sciatic nerve and purified by means of antimitotic agents and by selective immunoadsorption of contaminating fibroblasts. Cultured Schwann cells after 3 passages assumed a flat polygonal shape. Exposure of the cells to GMF converted the cells to the elongated, spindle morphology typical of Schwann cells. GMF also stimulated a 7-fold increase in DNA synthesis when compared with control cultures grown in F10 medium containing 5% fetal calf serum. The mitogenic activity of GMF was still detectable at 5 ng protein/ml medium. The maximal effect on DNA synthesis occurred 72 h after the initial exposure to GMF. Although the cells were positive for the Schwann cell marker Ran-1, GMF failed to induce the production of myelin-associated glycolipids (galactocerebroside) and proteins (Po) nor did it induce the astrocytic marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The effects of GMF on Schwann cells extend its biological role beyond the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 25 1984


  • Schwann cells
  • glia maturation factor
  • growth factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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