Agrin differentially regulates the rates of axonal and dendritic elongation in cultured hippocampal neurons

K. B. Mantych, A. Ferreira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


In the present study, we examined the role of agrin in axonal and dendritic elongation in central neurons. Dissociated hippocampal neurons were grown in the presence of either recombinant agrin or antisense oligonucleotides designed to block agrin expression. Our results indicate that agrin differentially regulates axonal and dendritic growth. Recombinant agrin decreased the rate of elongation of main axons but induced the formation of axonal branches. On the other hand, agrin induced both dendritic elongation and dendritic branching. Conversely, cultured hippocampal neurons depleted of agrin extended longer, nonbranched axons and shorter dendrites when compared with controls. These changes in the rates of neurite elongation and branching were paralleled by changes in the composition of the cytoskeleton. In the presence of agrin, there was an upregulation of the expression of microtubule-associated proteins MAP1B, MAP2, and tau. In contrast, a downregulation of the expression of these MAPs was detected in agrin-depleted cells. Taken collectively, these results suggest an important role for agrin as a trigger of the transcription of neuro-specific genes involved in neurite elongation and branching in central neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6802-6809
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001


  • Agrin
  • Antisense oligonucleotides
  • Axons and dendrites
  • CREB
  • Microtubule-associated proteins
  • Neurite outgrowth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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