Fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) also known as Glia-activating factor or Heparin-binding growth factor 9, is a member of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family. FGF family members possess broad mitogenic and cell survival activities, and are involved in a variety of biological processes, including embryonic development, cell growth, morphogenesis, tissue repair, tumor growth and invasion. This protein was isolated as a secreted factor that exhibits a growth-stimulating effect on cultured glial cells. In nervous system, this protein is produced mainly by neurons and may be important for glial cell development. Expression of the mouse homolog of this gene was found to be dependent on Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling. Mice lacking the homolog gene displayed a male-to-female sex reversal phenotype, which suggested a role in testicular embryogenesis. FGF9 plays an important role in the regulation of embryonic development, cell proliferation, cell differentiation and cell migration. FGF9 may have a role in glial cell growth and differentiation during development, gliosis during repair and regeneration of brain tissue after damage, differentiation and survival of neuronal cells, and growth stimulation of glial tumors.
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