Nerve growth factor treatment after brain injury prevents neuronal death

Science  09 Jan 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4785, pp. 214-216
DOI: 10.1126/science.3798108


Cholinergic neuronal degeneration after axotomy has been proposed to be due to the loss of a retrogradely transported neurotrophic factor, possibly nerve growth factor (NGF). To test this hypothesis, NGF was continuously infused into the lateral ventricles of adult rats that had received bilateral lesions of all cholinergic axons projecting from the medial septum to the dorsal hippocampus. After 2 weeks of NGF treatment, identification of cholinergic neurons by the presence of the biosynthetic enzyme choline acetyltransferase revealed a dramatic increase (350%) in the survival of the axotomized septal cholinergic neurons. Thus, NGF or an NGF-like molecule can act as a neurotrophic factor for these neurons.

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