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Reviews in the Neurosciences

Editor-in-Chief: Huston, Joseph P.

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Volume 26, Issue 4


Role of leukemia inhibitory factor in the nervous system and its pathology

Pavel Ostasov
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Department of Histology and Embryology, Charles University Prague, Karlovarska 48, 323 00 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Zbynek Houdek
  • Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Department of Pathophysiology, Charles University in Prague, alej Svobody 1655/76, 323 00 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Jan Cendelin
  • Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Department of Pathophysiology, Charles University Prague, alej Svobody 1655/76, 301 66 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Disorders, Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Charles University Prague, alej Svobody 1655/76, 323 00 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Milena Kralickova
  • Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Disorders, Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Charles University Prague, alej Svobody 1655/76, 323 00 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Department of Histology and Embryology, Charles University in Prague, Karlovarska 48, 301 66 Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-04-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2014-0086


Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a multifunction cytokine that has various effects on different tissues and cell types in rodents and humans; however, its insufficiency has a relatively mild impact. This could explain why only some aspects of LIF activity are in the limelight, whereas other aspects are not well known. In this review, the LIF structure, signaling pathway, and primary roles in the development and function of an organism are reviewed, and the effects of LIF on stem cell growth and differentiation, which are important for its use in cell culturing, are described. The focus is on the roles of LIF in central nervous system development and on the modulation of its physiological functions as well as the involvement of LIF in the pathogenesis of brain diseases and injuries. Finally, LIF and its signaling pathway are discussed as potential targets of therapeutic interventions to influence both negative phenomena and regenerative processes following brain injury.

Keywords: embryogenesis; leukemia inhibitory factor; nervous system; neuropathology; stem cells


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About the article

Corresponding author: Pavel Ostasov, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Department of Histology and Embryology, Charles University Prague, Karlovarska 48, 323 00 Plzen, Czech Republic, e-mail:

Received: 2014-12-17

Accepted: 2015-02-22

Published Online: 2015-04-16

Published in Print: 2015-08-01

Citation Information: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Volume 26, Issue 4, Pages 443–459, ISSN (Online) 2191-0200, ISSN (Print) 0334-1763, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2014-0086.

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