Leukemia inhibitory factor determines the growth status of injured adult sensory neurons

WBJ Cafferty, NJ Gardiner, I Gavazzi, J Powell, SB McMahon, John Heath, J Munson, J Cohen, SWN Thompson

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163 Citations (Scopus)


Conditioning injury to adult mammalian sensory neurons enhances their regeneration potential. Here we show that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a fundamental component of the conditioning response. Conditioning injury in vivo significantly increases the intrinsic growth capacity of sensory neurons in vitro from LIF+/+ mice. This conditioning effect is significantly blunted in sensory neurons from LIF-/- mice. Enhanced growth is rescued in vitro in LIF-/- mice by the addition of exogenous LIF, and the effect blocked by human LIF-05, an LIF receptor antagonist. Furthermore, we demonstrate that LIF promotes elongating but not arborizing neurite outgrowth in vitro and is required for normal regeneration of injured adult sensory neurons in vivo. LIF is also functionally protective to peptidergic sensory neurons after nerve damage in vivo. Our results indicate that the alteration in intrinsic growth status of injured sensory neurons depends, at least in part, on LIF.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7161-7170
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2001


  • regeneration
  • sensory neuron
  • leukemia inhibitory factor
  • conditioning lesion
  • gp130
  • axotomy


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