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Behav Brain Res. 1992 May 8;48(1):15-20.

Hippocampal nerve growth factor levels are related to spatial learning ability in aged rats.

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.


Brain nerve growth factor (NGF) was determined in two groups of aged rats: 'good' and 'poor' performers. The animals were selected out of a population of 40 aged rats (26-28 months old) trained in a spatial learning task. Animals performing well in the test had significantly higher NGF in the hippocampus when compared to 'poor' performers. No differences in the levels of NGF were found in the cortex, septum and cerebellum. The results implicate hippocampal NGF in cognitive functioning of aged rats, and suggests that the forebrain cholinergic neuronal atrophy which has been observed in cognitively impaired aged rats may be due to reduced availability of target-derived NGF.

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