Distinct roles for fibroblast growth factor signaling in cerebellar development and medulloblastoma

B. A. Emmenegger, E. I. Hwang, C. Moore, S. L. Markant, S. N. Brun, J. W. Dutton, T. A. Read, M. P. Fogarty, A. R. Singh, D. L. Durden, C. Yang, W. L. McKeehan, R. J. Wechsler-Reya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Cerebellar granule neurons are the most abundant neurons in the brain, and a critical element of the circuitry that controls motor coordination and learning. In addition, granule neuron precursors (GNPs) are thought to represent cells of origin for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Thus, understanding the signals that control the growth and differentiation of these cells has important implications for neurobiology and neurooncology. Our previous studies have shown that proliferation of GNPs is regulated by Sonic hedgehog (Shh), and that aberrant activation of the Shh pathway can lead to medulloblastoma. Moreover, we have demonstrated that Shh-dependent proliferation of GNPs and medulloblastoma cells can be blocked by basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). But while the mitogenic effects of Shh signaling have been confirmed in vivo, the inhibitory effects of bFGF have primarily been studied in culture. Here, we demonstrate that mice lacking FGF signaling in GNPs exhibit no discernable changes in GNP proliferation or differentiation. In contrast, activation of FGF signaling has a potent effect on tumor growth: treatment of medulloblastoma cells with bFGF prevents them from forming tumors following transplantation, and inoculation of tumor-bearing mice with bFGF markedly inhibits tumor growth in vivo. These results suggest that activators of FGF signaling may be useful for targeting medulloblastoma and other Shh-dependent tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4181-4188
Number of pages8
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • basic FGF
  • cerebellum
  • granule
  • medulloblastoma
  • sonic hedgehog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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