Retrograde Support of Neuronal Survival Without Retrograde Transport of Nerve Growth Factor

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Science  22 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5559, pp. 1536-1539
DOI: 10.1126/science.1064913

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Application of nerve growth factor (NGF) covalently cross-linked to beads increased the phosphorylation of TrkA and Akt, but not of mitogen-activated protein kinase, in cultured rat sympathetic neurons. NGF beads or iodine-125–labeled NGF beads supplied to distal axons resulted in the survival of over 80% of the neurons for 30 hours, with little or no retrograde transport of iodine-125–labeled NGF; whereas application of free iodine-125–labeled NGF (0.5 nanograms per milliliter) produced 20-fold more retrograde transport, but only 29% of the neurons survived. Thus, in contrast to widely accepted theory, a neuronal survival signal can reach the cell bodies unaccompanied by the NGF that initiated it.

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