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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Mar; 81(5): 1580–1584.
PMCID: PMC344881

Biochemical and anatomical effects of antibodies against nerve growth factor on developing rat sensory ganglia.


The importance of nerve growth factor (NGF) for the development of sensory ganglia was investigated by injecting rat fetuses (16.50 days of gestation) with a single dose of anti-NGF antiserum. Four months later the treated animals showed a very large decrease in substance P- and somatostatin-like immunoreactivities in dorsal root ganglia and skin with a lesser decrease in trigeminal ganglia. Fluoride-resistant acid phosphatase, substance P-, and somatostatin-like immunoreactivities were greatly decreased in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. No change in neurotensin- and [Met]enkephalin-like immunoreactivities was observed. The anti-NGF antiserum treatment produced a greater than 90% decrease in the number of unmyelinated dorsal root fibers and a 35% decrease in the total number of myelinated fibers. The loss in myelinated fibers was restricted to small-diameter fibers with no change in large-diameter fibers. No change in taste bud morphology was noted, thereby refuting the proposal that anti-NGF antiserum treatment may represent an animal model for familial dysautonomia. The present results indicate that NGF is a necessary requirement for the normal development of a significant population of prenatal rat dorsal root ganglion cells.

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Selected References

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