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Exp Neurol. 2006 Jan;197(1):206-14. Epub 2005 Oct 14.

Ciliary neurotrophic factor is expressed in the magnocellular neurosecretory system of the rat in vivo: evidence for injury- and activity-induced upregulation.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND 58203, USA.


Although ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) has been shown to promote the survival of magnocellular neurons when applied exogenously to explants of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei (SON) in vitro, little is known regarding its expression or regulation in the adult magnocellular neurosecretory system (MNS) following injury in vivo. Therefore, we utilized in situ hybridization and immunocytochemical analysis in conjunction with quantitative optical densitometric analysis to identify the cellular source of CNTF and examine the temporal pattern of its expression, following unilateral transection of the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial tract in the adult rat. In intact rats, CNTF immunoreactivity (CNTF-ir) was predominantly localized within identified astrocytes within the ventral glial limitans subjacent to the SON. Quantitative optical densitometric analysis of CNTF-ir levels in the axotomized SON demonstrated that the proportional area of CNTF-ir was significantly elevated between 3 and 30 days following injury. A significant but more limited increase was also observed in the non-injured contralateral SON. In situ hybridization confirmed the expression and upregulation of CNTF in the axotomized SON. These results demonstrate the expression of CNTF in the adult rodent MNS in vivo and provide evidence that levels of CNTF are upregulated in response to both direct injury, and heightened metabolic activity, within the lesioned and sprouting SON, respectively.

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