Nerve growth factor attenuates neurotoxic effects of taxol on spinal cord-ganglion explants from fetal mice

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Science  23 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4557, pp. 377-379
DOI: 10.1126/science.6124041


Most neurons in organotypic cultures of dorsal root ganglia from 13-day-old fetal mice require high concentrations of nerve growth factor for survival during the first week after explanation. These nerve growth factor-enhanced sensory neurons mature and innervate the dorsal regions of attached spinal cord tissue even after the removal of exogenous growth factor after 4 days. In cultures exposed for 4 days to nerve growth factor and taxol (a plant alkaloid that promotes the assembly of microtubules) and returned to medium without growth factor, greater than 95 percent of the ganglionic neurons degenerated and the spinal cord tissues were reduced almost to monolayers. In contrast, when the recovery medium was supplemented with nerve growth factor, the ganglionic neurons and dorsal (but not ventral) cord tissue survived remarkably well. Dorsal cord neurons do not normally require an input from dorsal root ganglia for long-term maintenance in vitro, but during and after taxol exposure they become dependent for survival and recovery on the presence of neurite projections from nerve growth-factor-enhanced dorsal root ganglia.