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The Nfib gene is required for normal brain and lung development . Animals lacking Nfib die at birth without taking a breath because their lungs fail to mature normally. The arrest of lung development in Nfib-/- mice is at the late-pseudogladular, early saccular stage in lung maturation and is similar in some ways to the failure in lung development seen in glucocorticoid receptor knockout mice.
Along with this lethal lung defect, Nfib-/- animals also have severe defects in brain development showing callosal agenesis, aberrant hippocampus formation and altered formation of the basilar pons. Nfib has been shown to regulate the "gliogenic switch", the process by which multipotential neural progenitors switch from producing neuronal progenitors to producing glial progenitors .