MAP kinase activity is necessary for growth factor induction of neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Although NGF and EGF both stimulate MAP kinase activity, EGF does not stimulate neurite extension. We report that EGF, in combination with KCl, stimulates neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. This phenomenon was independent of intracellular Ca2+ increases and not due to enhancement of MAP kinase activity over that seen with EGF alone. However, EGF plus KCl increased intracellular cAMP, and other cAMP elevating agents acted synergistically with EGF to promote neurite outgrowth. Stimulation of neurite outgrowth by cAMP and EGF was blocked by inhibitors of transcription suggesting that synergistic regulation of transcription by the cAMP and MAP kinase pathways may stimulate neurite growth.

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