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Neuron. 1989 Sep;3(3):267-73.

Evidence for a physiological role of nerve growth factor in the central nervous system of neonatal rats.

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Fidia Research Laboratories, Via Ponte della Fabbrica 3/A, Italy.


Forebrain cholinergic neurons have been shown to respond in vivo to administration of nerve growth factor (NGF) with a prominent and selective increase of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity. This has suggested that NGF can act as a trophic factor for these neurons. To test this hypothesis directly, anti-NGF antibodies (and their Fab fragments) were intracerebroventricularly injected into neonatal rats to neutralize endogenously occurring NGF. The anti-NGF antibody administration produced a decrease of ChAT activity in the hippocampus, septal area, cortex, and striatum of rat pups. This finding was substantiated by a concomitant decrease of immunopositive staining for ChAT in the septal area. These effects indicate that the occurrence of endogenous NGF in the CNS is physiologically relevant for regulating the function of forebrain cholinergic neurons.

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