Mammalian retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro respond to the neurokines ciliary neurotrophic factor and leukemia inhibitory factor

S. K. Gupta, C. A. Jollimore, M. J. McLaren, G. Inana, M. E.M. Kelly

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21 Scopus citations


We examined whether primary cultures of rat retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and RPE cells of an immortalized rat cell line, BPEI-1, would be responsive to the neurokines ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), which are known to be potent trophic factors for neuronal cells. Primary RPE cell cultures were characterized by indirect immunofluorescence and exhibited positive immunoreactivity for RET-PE2, a monoclonal antibody that recognizes RPE cells, and for the intermediate filaments cytokeratin and vimentin. The survival of cultured RPE cells in serum-free defined medium in the presence of CNTF or LIF was investigated during a 0- to 5-day period. Both CNTF and LIF, at concentrations of 1-50 ng/mL (4-200 pM), markedly enhanced RPE cell survival. Bromodeoxyuridine labelling of RPE cells revealed an increased mitotic activity in cell cultures treated with either CNTF or LIF in comparison to untreated serum-free cultures. Increases in cell survival and proliferation after neurokine treatment were also observed with the BPEI-1 cell line. However, in comparison to the primary RPE cultures, LIF was more effective than CNTF in promoting survival of the cell line over a 5-day treatment period. These studies demonstrate that the neurokines CNTF and LIF are potent trophic factors for mammalian RPE cells in vitro and may serve as candidate therapeutic agents in degenerative conditions that affect the retina and RPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997



  • Cell survival
  • CNTF
  • LIF
  • Retinal pigment epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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