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Brain Res. 2007 Jan 5;1127(1):45-51. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

Nerve growth factor eye drop administrated on the ocular surface of rodents affects the nucleus basalis and septum: biochemical and structural evidence.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University Campus Bio-Medico, G. B. Bietti Eye Foundation, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Rome, Italy.


It has been shown that conjunctivally applied NGF in rats can reach the retina and optic nerve. Whether topical eye NGF application reaches the central nervous system is not known. In the present study, we have addressed this question. It was found that topical eye NGF application affects brain cells. Time-course studies revealed that repeated NGF application leads to high concentration of this neurotrophins after 6 h and normal levels after 24 h. Our results also showed that topical eye application of NGF causes an enhanced expression of NGF receptors and ChAT immunoreactivity in forebrain cholinergic neurons, suggesting that ocular NGF application could have a functional role on damaged brain cells. The present findings suggest that eye NGF application can represent an alternative route to prevent degeneration of NGF-receptive neurons involved in disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson.

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