Mouse lung rudiments express eight members of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family genes from embryonic day 10 (E10) to E13. Some of these are expressed in either the epithelium or mesenchyme, while others are expressed in both. Incorporating the results of our previous study, we characterized the branch-inducing activities of all of FGFs expressed in the early lung rudiment. Of these, FGF1, FGF2, FGF7, FGF9 and FGF10 induced branching morphogenesis in Matrigel-embedded E11 epithelium, and their effective concentrations varied (10 nM, 10 nM, 3 nM, 1 nM, and 100 nM, respectively). Whereas shaking culture dishes containing medium supplemented with FGF7 or FGF10 showed reduced branching morphogenesis, those supplemented with FGF1, FGF2, or FGF9 did not, suggesting the involvement of autocrine growth factor(s) in branching morphogenesis induced by FGF7 or FGF10. In the presence of heparin, a well-known activator of FGF signaling, cystic morphology with lumen expansion was observed in cultures containing FGF1, FGF7, or FGF10, but growth arrest was observed in cultures containing FGF2 or FGF9. These results indicate that several paracrine and autocrine FGFs function during branching morphogenesis of lung epithelium.
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Vol. 31 • No. 5