Vascular endothelial growth factor influences migration and focal adhesions, but not proliferation or viability, of human neural stem/progenitor cells derived from olfactory epithelium

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In humans, new neurons are continuously added in the olfactory epithelium even in the adulthood. The resident neural stem/progenitor cells (hNS/PCs-OE) in the olfactory epithelium are influenced by several growth factors and neurotrophins. Among these modulators the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has attracted attention due its implicated in cell proliferation, survival and migration of other type of neural/stem progenitor cells. Interestingly, VEGFr2 receptor expression in olfactory epithelium has been described in amphibians but not in humans. Here we show that VEGFr is expressed in the hNS/PCs-OE. We also investigated the effect of VEGF on the hNS/PCs-OE proliferation, viability and migration in vitro. Additionally, pharmacological approaches showed that VEGF (0.5 ng/ml)-stimulated migration of hNS/PCs-OE was blocked with the compound DMH4, which prevents the activation of VEGFr2. Similar effects were found with the inhibitors for Rac (EHT1864) and p38MAPK (SB203850) proteins, respectively. These observations occurred with changes in focal adhesion contacts. However, no effects of VEGF on proliferation or viability were found in hNS/PCs-OE. Our results suggest that hNS/PCs-OE respond to VEGF involving VEGFr2, Rac and p38MAPK.

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