The effects of nerve growth factor and antiserum against nerve growth factor on cortical cholinergic projection areas in the central nervous system and cerebellum were evaluated using intraocular grafts of cortex cerebri, hippocampus and cerebellum in rat hosts receiving injections into the anterior chamber of the eye of nerve growth factor (at transplantation, 5 and 10 days after transplantation) or antiserum to nerve growth factor (every 5 days). The controls received cytochrome c or preimmune serum. Growth of grafts was followed by repeated observations directly through the cornea of the host using a stereomicroscope. Nerve growth factor-treated grafts of cortex cerebri and hippocampus grew significantly smaller as compared to the corresponding control grafts. In one experiment, growth of cytochrome c and saline-treated cortex cerebri was compared and no difference in growth was found. Growth of nerve growth factor-treated cerebellar grafts did not differ significantly from growth of cytochrome c-treated grafts. Morphological analysis using Nissl-staining, antibodies to glial acidic fibrillary protein to evaluate the degree of gliosis and antiserum to neurofilament as a neuronal marker did not reveal any marked differences between nerve growth factor- and cytochrome c-treated grafts. Cortical grafts receiving anti-nerve growth factor antiserum by injection or by immunizing host rats against nerve growth factor showed similar growth to the controls. Similarly, grafts of fetal hippocampus to rats immunized with nerve growth factor were not significantly different from grafts to host rats immunized with cytochrome c. We conclude that exogenous nerve growth factor affects the development of grafted cortex cerebri and hippocampus. The fact that these cortical areas stop growing earlier in the presence of nerve growth factor without the grafts showing evidence of disturbed glial or neuronal populations compared to control grafts indicates that nerve growth factor acts to induce overall/premature differentiation and maturation. The mechanism for this whether or not it is receptor-mediated and which cells are primarily affected by nerve growth factor is not yet known.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989AH23300017
View details for PubMedID 2549445