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EMBO J. 1997 Jun 2;16(11):3115-23.

Sympathetic neuron survival and TrkA expression in NT3-deficient mouse embryos.

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  • 1School of Biological and Medical Sciences, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK.


Several in vitro and in vivo studies have led to the widely accepted view that NT3 is required for sympathetic neuroblast survival, induction of TrkA expression and the acquisition of NGF dependence. However, we show that the number of neurons and the levels of trkA and p75 mRNAs in the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion (SCG) of NT3-/- mouse embryos increase normally up to E16, 2 days after SCG neurons start responding to NGF. At E18 and in the postnatal period, there are significant reductions in the number of SCG neurons and in the levels of trkA and p75 mRNAs. These results show that the neurotrophin survival requirements of SCG neurons do not switch from NT3 to NGF during development and that NT3 is not required for the expression of TrkA and p75 and the acquisition of NGF dependence. Rather, some sympathetic neurons have a late requirement for NT3 at the time when they also depend on NGF for survival. The expression of transcripts encoding catalytic TrkC is negligible at this stage, suggesting that NT3 acts mainly via TrkA.

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