Glia-promoting factors (GPFs) are peptides of the central nervous system which accelerate the growth of specific glial populations in vitro. Although these factors were first discovered in the goldfish visual system (Giulian, D., Y. Tomozawa, H. Hindman, and R. Allen, 1985, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 83:4287-4290), we now report similar peptides are found in mammalian brain. The cerebral cortex of rat contains oligodendroglia-stimulating peptides, GPF1 (15 kD) and GPF3 (6 kD), as well as astroglia-stimulating peptides, GPF2 (9 kD) and GPF4 (3 kD). The concentrations of specific GPFs increase in brain during periods of gliogenesis. For example, GPF1 and GPF3 are found in postnatal rat brain during a peak of oligondendroglial growth while GPF2 and GPF4 are first detected at a time of astroglial proliferation in the embryo. Stab wound injury to the cerebral cortices of rats stimulates astroglial proliferation and induces marked elevations in levels of GPF2 and GPF4. Our findings suggest that two distinct classes of GPFs, those acting upon oligodendroglia and those acting upon astroglia, help to regulate cell growth in the developing and injured central nervous system.

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