The Roles of Growth Factors and Neural Activity in the Development of the Neocortex

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Gail Cardew
  1. David J. Price,
  2. R. Beau Lotto,
  3. Natasha Warren,
  4. Gillian Magowan and
  5. Julia Clausen

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514795.ch12

Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex

Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex

How to Cite

Price, D. J., Lotto, R. B., Warren, N., Magowan, G. and Clausen, J. (2007) The Roles of Growth Factors and Neural Activity in the Development of the Neocortex, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex (eds G. R. Bock and G. Cardew), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514795.ch12

Author Information

  1. Department of Physiology, The University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471957058

Online ISBN: 9780470514795

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • growth factors;
  • neural activity;
  • neocortex;
  • macromolecular fraction;
  • intercellular interactions

Summary

Previous research on primarily the peripheral nervous system has shown that soluble growth factors help control key developmental events by contributing to dynamic autocrine and paracrine signalling systems. Much less is known about the roles of these substances in neocortical development. Using cell and tissue culture paradigms, we have demonstrated that soluble growth factors are produced by the neocortex and its subcortical targets, and that these tissues can respond to them. There are several possible functions for these factors in neocortical development in vivo: they may initiate axonal growth from neocortical neurons and/or their afferents; accelerate or guide that growth; and/or play a role in the later refinement of connections. Although none of these possibilities can be excluded, the existing evidence strengthens the hypothesis that soluble growth factors are important for the early postnatal growth and refinement of neocortical connections, when their levels of release may be regulated by neocortical activity. At present we do not know which growth factors are involved in these processes, but the results of preliminary experiments indicate that neurotrophins and fibroblast growth factor are prime candidates.