Iron enhances NGF-induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells

Young Eun Yoo, Jin Hee Hong, Kyu Chung Hur, Eok Soo Oh, Jun Mo Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Rat pheochromocytoma 12 (PC12) cells undergo neuronal differentiation in response to nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF-induced differentiation involves a number of protein kinases, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). We studied the effect of iron on neuronal differentiation, using as model the neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells triggered by NGF when the cells are plated on collagen-coated dishes in medium containing 1% serum. The addition of iron enhanced NGF-mediated cell adhesion, spreading and neurite outgrowth. The differentiation-promoting effect of iron seems to depend on intracellular iron, since nitrilotriacetic acid (an efficient iron-uptake mediator) enhanced the response to iron. In agreement with this, intracellular, but not extracellular, iron enhanced NGF-induced neurite outgrowth in pre-spread PC12 cells, and this was correlated with increased ERK activity. Taken together, these data suggest that intracellular iron promotes NGF-stimulated differentiation of PC12 cells by increasing ERK activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalMolecules and Cells
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2004


  • Adhesion
  • Ferrous
  • MAP kinase
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Neurite outgrowth


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