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Neuronal Cell Death: Retraction

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Science  16 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5426, pp. 337
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5426.337h

We reported that p75 nerve growth factor receptor (p75NGFR) induces the death of a subpopulation of cholinergic medial septum neurons during postnatal development (Reports, 6 Dec. 1996, p. 1729) (1). In an analysis of new sets of p75NGFR-deficient and control mice, we find, contrary to our previous report, that (i) the number of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive (cholinergic) medial septum neurons increases between postnatal days 6 and 15 in 129/Sv and Balb/c control mice; (ii) the number of TUNEL (an indicator of apoptosis)-positive cells in the medial septum is similarly low (one to two cells per 10-micrometer section) in p75NGFR-deficient and control mice at postnatal day 8; and (iii) the number of ChAT-positive neurons is similar in adult p75NGFR-deficient and control mice (2). Reanalysis of brain tissue sections from the mice of the previous report (1) confirms points (i) and (ii) and reveals that the adult p75NGFR-deficient mice have only approximately 20% more ChAT-positive septal neurons than does the new group of control mice, as compared with the reported 50%. In addition, we fail to confirm that the control mice treated with the p75NGFR-interfering dc28-36 peptide have more ChAT-positive neurons than the mice treated with vehicle.

Thus, there does not appear to be a decrease in cholinergic medial septum neurons during postnatal life, and thus p75NGFR does not appear to cause the death of these neurons. I sincerely apologize for any difficulties that the incorrect information may have caused.

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