Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) has been shown to inhibit the differentiation of myogenic and adipogenic cell lines without inducing a proliferative response. We have previously shown that agents capable of activating protein kinase C (PKC), such as FGF and the phorbol ester tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), inhibit the differentiation of the adipogenic cell line TA1, as measured by the rapid loss of adipocyte-specific RNAs. We report here that the treatment of fully differentiated TA1 adipocytes with FGF at 10 ng/ml induces the reversal of adipocyte differentiation, even in cells where PKC activity has been down-regulated by TPA pretreatment. In contrast, TPA or lower concentrations of FGF (1 ng/ml), both effective inducers of c-fos RNA in adipocytes, fail to reverse adipocyte differentiation. The adipocytes, however, will extinguish differentiation-specific functions in response to TPA by the addition of a calcium ionophore. Therefore, we propose that there are two FGF-sensitive pathways in TA1 cells: one responsible for the initiation of differentiation (TPA sensitive) and another required for maintenance of the adipose phenotype (TPA insensitive). These results suggest that activation of two distinct signaling pathways--one PKC and calcium dependent, the other FGF activated but PKC independent--are capable of inhibiting the biochemical events responsible for the maintenance of adipocyte differentiation.

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