Int. J. Dev. Biol. 37: 417 - 423 (1993)
© UPV/EHU Press

Developmental regulation of acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) expression in bovine retina.

E Jacquemin, L Jonet, L Oliver, K Bugra, M Laurent, Y Courtois and J C Jeanny

Unité de Recherches Gérontologiques, U. 118 INSERM, Paris, France.

ABSTRACT Acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) is a signalling molecule implicated in a wide variety of biological processes such as cell growth, differentiation and survival. It has been purified from bovine retina. The present study was carried out to detect which cells in the bovine retina expressed aFGF at the different stages of embryonic and post-natal development. The specific aFGF mRNA and protein were detected by in situ hybridization employing riboprobes and immunocytochemistry using affinity purified polyclonal human recombinant aFGF antibodies respectively. No signal was detected by either technique until 4-5 months and then there was progressive expression of aFGF with terminal morphogenesis of the retina. By 8-9 months of embryonic development, nuclei of the 3 neuronal layers (ganglion cell layer, inner and outer nuclear layers) were all uniformly and intensely labeled. A slight labeling of the pigmented epithelium of the retina was also visible throughout development and maturation. These results showed a good correlation between message and protein expression in these cell types. In contrast, glial cells in the nerve fiber layer and vascular endothelial cells displayed a nuclear immunostaining for the protein in the absence of message. These data suggest that aFGF plays a role in the late steps of retinal differentiation by autocrine and paracrine mechanisms.