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J Comp Neurol. 1992 Dec 15;326(3):347-62.

Distribution of nerve growth factor-like immunoreactive neurons in the adult rat brain following colchicine treatment.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


Using immunohistochemical techniques, we have previously localized nerve growth factor (NGF)-like immunoreactivity in the normal adult rat central nervous system (CNS) exclusively in the hippocampal mossy fiber region and within basal forebrain cholinergic neurons--a cell population believed to be primary NGF consumers within the CNS. In the present investigation, we have attempted to identify potential producers of NGF by pretreating animals with colchicine. Such a treatment would be expected to block microtubule-assisted neuritic transport mechanisms, thus preventing the accumulation of antigens normally obtained by retrograde transport and forcing the accumulation of cell products normally exported anterogradely. Forty-eight hours after colchicine administration within their innervation territories, basal forebrain cholinergic neurons showed a marked loss of NGF-like immunoreactivity. Conversely, following colchicine treatment, many new populations of NGF-like immunoreactive cells were detected, several of which have been previously observed with in situ hybridization techniques for NGF mRNA. Many NGF-like immunoreactive populations, however, were not previously recognized by in situ hybridization methods, including cells of the striatum, reticular thalamic nucleus, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, supraoptic nucleus, lateral and medial septum, substantia innominata, and nucleus basalis. Furthermore, evidence is provided that colchicine-blocked, NGF-like immunoreactive neurons within the basal forebrain are not cholinergic, thus reinforcing the hypothesis that trophic support for these NGF-dependent neurons may be derived from distant and local sources. The distinctive distribution of NGF-like immunoreactive cells observed in this study strongly correlates with the reported distribution of NGF mRNA in CNS neurons, thus suggesting that our antibodies are uniquely recognizing NGF and not other related neurotrophins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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