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Fgf2 is expressed in human and murine embryonic choroid plexus and affects choroid plexus epithelial cell behaviour

Sarah Greenwood14, Adam Swetloff15, Angela M Wade2, Tetsuya Terasaki3 and Patrizia Ferretti1*

Author Affiliations

1 DevelopmentalBiology Unit UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK

2 Paediatric Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK

3 Membrane Transport and Drug Targeting Laboratory, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku University, Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8578, Japan

4 Department of Applied Biological Sciences, School of Community and Health Sciences, City University, 20 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7QN, UK

5 Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, 1 Rue Michel-Servet 1211 Geneva-4, Switzerland

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Cerebrospinal Fluid Research 2008, 5:20  doi:10.1186/1743-8454-5-20

Published: 29 December 2008



Although fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) signalling plays crucial roles in several developing and mature tissues, little information is currently available on expression of Fgf2 during early choroid plexus development and whether Fgf2 directly affects the behaviour of the choroid plexus epithelium (CPe). The purpose of this study was to investigate expression of Fgf2 in rodent and human developing CPe and possible function of Fgf2, using in vitro models. The application of Fgf2 to brain in vivo can affect the whole tissue, making it difficult to assess specific responses of the CPe.


Expression of Fgf2 was studied by immunohistochemistry in rodent and human embryonic choroid plexus. Effects of Fgf2 on growth, secretion, aggregation and gene expression was investigated using rodent CPe vesicles, a three-dimensional polarized culture model that closely mimics CPe properties in vivo, and rodent CPe monolayer cultures.


Fgf2 was present early in development of the choroid plexus both in mouse and human, suggesting the importance of this ligand in Fgf signalling in the developing choroid plexus. Parallel analysis of Fgf2 expression and cell proliferation during CP development suggests that Fgf2 is not involved in CPe proliferation in vivo. Consistent with this observation is the failure of Fgf2 to increase proliferation in the tri-dimensional vesicle culture model. The CPe however, can respond to Fgf2 treatment, as the diameter of CPe vesicles is significantly increased by treatment with this growth factor. We show that this is due to an increase in cell aggregation during vesicle formation rather than increased secretion into the vesicle lumen. Finally, Fgf2 regulates expression of the CPe-associated transcription factors, Foxj1 and E2f5, whereas transthyretin, a marker of secretory activity, is not affected by Fgf2 treatment.


Fgf2 expression early in the development of both human and rodent choroid plexus, and its ability to modulate behaviour and gene expression in CPe, supports the view that Fgf signalling plays a role in the maintenance of integrity and function of this specialized epithelium, and that this role is conserved between rodents and humans.