The embryonal carcinoma PCC4uva differentiates into neurons in response to treatment with retinoic acid and dbcAMP. We used this in vitro model system to study the effects of laminin on early neural differentiation. Laminin substrata markedly potentiate neural differentiation of retinoic acid and dbcAMP-treated cultures. Only laminin induced more rapid neural cell body clustering, neurite growth and neurite fasciculation as compared to type IV collagen, type I collagen, and fibronectin substrata. Exogenous laminin substrata promoted greater cell attachment, cellular spreading and growth to confluence than type IV collagen, type I collagen, fibronectin and glass substrata. Laminin-induced effects were inhibited by addition of laminin antibodies or the synthetic laminin-derived peptide Ile-Gly-Ser-Arg-NH2 (YIGSR-NH2). Treatment with YIGSR-NH2 also inhibited neural differentiation in the absence of exogenous laminin substrata, whereas synthetic peptides containing the RGD sequence and a control peptide YIGSK-NH2 showed no inhibitory effects. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that specific interactions between an early differentiating cell population(s) and extracellular laminin are required during neural differentiation.

This content is only available via PDF.