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Dev Biol. 1983 Mar;96(1):32-6.

Effects of antibodies to nerve growth factor on intrauterine development of derivatives of cranial neural crest and placode in the guinea pig.


Fetal guinea pigs transplacentally exposed to maternal nerve growth factor antibodies in the latter part of gestation show marked depletion of sensory neurons in the trigeminal ganglion. Sensory neurons of the nodose ganglion and spiral ganglion which are derived from placodes, and parasympathetic motor neurons of the ciliary, otic, and sphenopalatine ganglia which are derived, like the bulk of the trigeminal ganglion, from cranial neural crest, are unaffected by the antibodies. Previous studies showed that sensory and some sympathetic derivatives of spinal neural crest are effected but that more peripherally located structures of similar origin are not. The local microenvironment in the fetus appears to alter the NGF requirements of structures derived from the same primordia. The model described provides a useful means of studying the effect of trophic factor inhibition in the natural fetal setting and is free of many potential artifacts of tissue culture. Comparison of the animal results with the pathology of familial dysautonomia indicates that nerve growth factor dysfunction alone does not, in our current state of knowledge, adequately account for the etiology of the disease.

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