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Neurotoxicology. 1994 Winter;15(4):819-25.

Effects of repeated administrations of EGF and TGF-alpha on mouse neurobehavioral development.

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Behavioral Pathophysiology Section, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


In this study we tested the effects of repeated administrations of Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) and Transforming Growth Factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) on mouse pups' neurobehavioral development. Each subject was injected subcutaneously with either EGF or TGF-alpha on postnatal days 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Pups treated with these two peptides showed accelerated eyelid opening and eruption of the lower incisors when compared to Cytochrome c-injected control littermates. EGF, but not TGF-alpha, resulted in a slight body growth retardation. When scored for a number of neurobehavioral parameters, EGF pups showed a delayed appearance of the righting reflex. Also, EGF-treated pups exhibited greater ultrasonic vocalization calling rates than controls when tested on postnatal day 7. Overall, TGF-alpha administration resulted in minor effects, when compared with EGF treatment, probably as a result of the lower dose administered (EGF: 3.5 mg/kg vs TGF-alpha: 1 mg/kg). TGF-alpha affected pups' eyelid opening and incisor eruption, similarly to EGF, but seemed to exert an opposite effect on some neurobehavioral scores, in line with what was already reported for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) (Calamandrei and Alleva, 1989). These results confirm the role played by polypeptide growth factors on mammalian physical and neurobehavioral development and suggest that TGF-alpha might affect mouse brain development in a similar fashion as NGF.

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