Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Feb; 83(3): 817–821.
PMCID: PMC322956

Development and regional expression of beta nerve growth factor messenger RNA and protein in the rat central nervous system.


The presence of nerve growth factor (NGF) mRNA and protein in the rat central nervous system is documented. Blot-hybridization analysis showed an abundance of NGF mRNA in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and olfactory bulb. Enzyme immunoassay confirmed significant levels of a NGF-like protein in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Bioassay of a NGF-like immunoaffinity-purified protein from these regions was physiologically indistinguishable from NGF. Immunohistochemistry revealed a widespread distribution of NGF-like reactivity in the adult brain, preferentially in fiber tracts. NGF mRNA accumulation began at birth, with adult levels reached 3 weeks postnatally. Enzyme immunoassay detected the presence of a NGF-like protein in the embryonic rat brain. Postnatally, the level of NGF-like protein reached a maximum at 3 weeks. Additionally, a distinct fetal form of NGF may exist.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.6M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Levi-Montalcini R, Angeletti PU. Nerve growth factor. Physiol Rev. 1968 Jul;48(3):534–569. [PubMed]
  • Thoenen H, Barde YA. Physiology of nerve growth factor. Physiol Rev. 1980 Oct;60(4):1284–1335. [PubMed]
  • Freed WJ. The role of nerve-growth factor (NGF) in the central nervous system. Brain Res Bull. 1976 Jul-Aug;1(4):393–412. [PubMed]
  • Konkol RJ, Mailman RB, Bendeich EG, Garrison AM, Mueller RA, Breese GR. Evaluation of the effects of nerve growth factor and anti-nerve growth factor on the development of central catecholamine-containing neurons. Brain Res. 1978 Apr 14;144(2):277–285. [PubMed]
  • Olson L, Ebendal T, Seiger A. NGF and anti-NGF: evidence against effects on fiber growth in locus coeruleus from cultures of perinatal CNS tissues. Dev Neurosci. 1979;2(4):160–176. [PubMed]
  • Dreyfus CF, Peterson ER, Crain SM. Failure of nerve growth factor to affect fetal mouse brain stem catecholaminergic neurons in culture. Brain Res. 1980 Aug 4;194(2):540–547. [PubMed]
  • Menesini Chen MG, Chen JS, Levi-Montalcini R. Sympathetic nerve fibers ingrowth in the central nervous system of neonatal rodent upon intracerebral NGF injections. Arch Ital Biol. 1978 Jan;116(1):53–84. [PubMed]
  • Crutcher KA, Chandler JP. Evidence for sprouting specificity following medial septal lesions in the rat. J Comp Neurol. 1985 Jul 1;237(1):116–126. [PubMed]
  • Schwab ME, Otten U, Agid Y, Thoenen H. Nerve growth factor (NGF) in the rat CNS: absence of specific retrograde axonal transport and tyrosine hydroxylase induction in locus coeruleus and substantia nigra. Brain Res. 1979 Jun 8;168(3):473–483. [PubMed]
  • Gnahn H, Hefti F, Heumann R, Schwab ME, Thoenen H. NGF-mediated increase of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) in the neonatal rat forebrain: evidence for a physiological role of NGF in the brain? Brain Res. 1983 Jul;285(1):45–52. [PubMed]
  • Mobley WC, Rutkowski JL, Tennekoon GI, Buchanan K, Johnston MV. Choline acetyltransferase activity in striatum of neonatal rats increased by nerve growth factor. Science. 1985 Jul 19;229(4710):284–287. [PubMed]
  • Seiler M, Schwab ME. Specific retrograde transport of nerve growth factor (NGF) from neocortex to nucleus basalis in the rat. Brain Res. 1984 May 21;300(1):33–39. [PubMed]
  • Hefti F, Dravid A, Hartikka J. Chronic intraventricular injections of nerve growth factor elevate hippocampal choline acetyltransferase activity in adult rats with partial septo-hippocampal lesions. Brain Res. 1984 Feb 20;293(2):305–311. [PubMed]
  • Ayer-Lelievre CS, Ebendal T, Olson L, Seiger A. Localization of nerve growth factor-like immunoreactivity in rat nervous tissue. Med Biol. 1983;61(6):296–304. [PubMed]
  • Scott J, Selby M, Urdea M, Quiroga M, Bell GI, Rutter WJ. Isolation and nucleotide sequence of a cDNA encoding the precursor of mouse nerve growth factor. Nature. 1983 Apr 7;302(5908):538–540. [PubMed]
  • Ullrich A, Gray A, Berman C, Dull TJ. Human beta-nerve growth factor gene sequence highly homologous to that of mouse. Nature. 1983 Jun 30;303(5920):821–825. [PubMed]
  • Shelton DL, Reichardt LF. Expression of the beta-nerve growth factor gene correlates with the density of sympathetic innervation in effector organs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Dec;81(24):7951–7955. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Korsching S, Auburger G, Heumann R, Scott J, Thoenen H. Levels of nerve growth factor and its mRNA in the central nervous system of the rat correlate with cholinergic innervation. EMBO J. 1985 Jun;4(6):1389–1393. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Chirgwin JM, Przybyla AE, MacDonald RJ, Rutter WJ. Isolation of biologically active ribonucleic acid from sources enriched in ribonuclease. Biochemistry. 1979 Nov 27;18(24):5294–5299. [PubMed]
  • Aviv H, Leder P. Purification of biologically active globin messenger RNA by chromatography on oligothymidylic acid-cellulose. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1972 Jun;69(6):1408–1412. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Battey J, Moulding C, Taub R, Murphy W, Stewart T, Potter H, Lenoir G, Leder P. The human c-myc oncogene: structural consequences of translocation into the IgH locus in Burkitt lymphoma. Cell. 1983 Oct;34(3):779–787. [PubMed]
  • Minty AJ, Caravatti M, Robert B, Cohen A, Daubas P, Weydert A, Gros F, Buckingham ME. Mouse actin messenger RNAs. Construction and characterization of a recombinant plasmid molecule containing a complementary DNA transcript of mouse alpha-actin mRNA. J Biol Chem. 1981 Jan 25;256(2):1008–1014. [PubMed]
  • Ebendal T, Olson L, Seiger A, Hedlund KO. Nerve growth factors in the rat iris. Nature. 1980 Jul 3;286(5768):25–28. [PubMed]
  • Ebendal T, Olson L, Seiger A. The level of nerve growth factor (NGF) as a function of innervation. A correlation radio-immunoassay and bioassay study of the rat iris. Exp Cell Res. 1983 Oct 15;148(2):311–317. [PubMed]
  • Stoeckel K, Gagnon C, Guroff G, Thoenen H. Purification of nerve growth factor antibodies by affinity chromatography. J Neurochem. 1976 Jun;26(6):1207–1211. [PubMed]
  • COONS AH. Fluorescent antibody methods. Gen Cytochem Methods. 1958;1:399–422. [PubMed]
  • Kelly K, Cochran BH, Stiles CD, Leder P. Cell-specific regulation of the c-myc gene by lymphocyte mitogens and platelet-derived growth factor. Cell. 1983 Dec;35(3 Pt 2):603–610. [PubMed]
  • Campisi J, Gray HE, Pardee AB, Dean M, Sonenshein GE. Cell-cycle control of c-myc but not c-ras expression is lost following chemical transformation. Cell. 1984 Feb;36(2):241–247. [PubMed]
  • Levi-Montalcini R, Booker B. EXCESSIVE GROWTH OF THE SYMPATHETIC GANGLIA EVOKED BY A PROTEIN ISOLATED FROM MOUSE SALIVARY GLANDS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1960 Mar;46(3):373–384. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Crutcher KA, Brothers L, Davis JN. Sympathetic noradrenergic sprouting in response to central cholinergic denervation; a histochemical study of neuronal sprouting in the rat hippocampal formation. Brain Res. 1981 Apr 6;210(1-2):115–128. [PubMed]
  • Aghajanian GK, Bloom FE. The formation of synaptic junctions in developing rat brain: a quantitative electron microscopic study. Brain Res. 1967 Dec;6(4):716–727. [PubMed]
  • Crain B, Cotman C, Taylor D, Lynch G. A quantitative electron microscopic study of synaptogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the rat. Brain Res. 1973 Dec 7;63:195–204. [PubMed]
  • Matthews DA, Nadler JV, Lynch GS, Cotman CW. Development of cholinergic innervation in the hippocampal formation of the rat. I. Histochemical demonstration of acetylcholinesterase activity. Dev Biol. 1974 Jan;36(1):130–141. [PubMed]
  • Cotman CW, Nieto-Sampedro M, Harris EW. Synapse replacement in the nervous system of adult vertebrates. Physiol Rev. 1981 Jul;61(3):684–784. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...