Nerve growth factor as a mitogen for a pancreatic carcinoid cell line

Richard J. Bold, Jin Ishizuka, Srinivasan Rajaraman, J. Regino Perez-Polo, Courtney M. Townsend, James C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Carcinoid tumors are a group of neuroendocrine neoplasms distributed widely throughout the body but most commonly occurring in the gut. These tumors retain many characteristics of their neural crest origin, including secretion of neuroactive peptides and responsiveness to neurotrophic substances. Nerve growth factor (NGF), a neurotrophic protein involved in maintenance and differentiation of peripheral sympathetic and sensory neurons, regulates growth of several neural tumor cells by inducing a differentiated phenotype and subsequent inhibition of cell growth rate. We examined the actions of NGF in a functioning human pancreatic carcinoid cell line (termed BON). NGF has no effect on the cytoarchitecture or constitutive secretion of bioamines in this carcinoid cell line. NGF, however, stimulates the in vitro cellular proliferation of BON cells. BON cells possess mRNA for the NGF receptors (p75(LNGFR) and p140(trkA)) and membrane-associated tyrosine kinase activity is increased in response to NGF. Both the mitogenic activity of NGF, as well as the receptor-linked tyrosine kinase activity, can be abrogated in BON cells by the trkA inhibitor K-252a and specific anti-NGF antibody. Our studies demonstrate that NGF is a mitogen for this carcinoid cell line without effect on cellular phenotype or cytoarchitecture. NGF may play a role in the development and progression of human carcinoid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2622-2628
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoid
  • Mitogen
  • Nerve growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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