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J Neurobiol. 1993 Aug;24(8):1065-79.

Biological studies of a putative avian muscle-derived neurotrophic factor that prevents naturally occurring motoneuron death in vivo.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157.


A series of in vivo studies have been carried out using the chick embryo to address several critical questions concerning the biological, and to a lesser extent, the biochemical characteristics of a putative avian muscle-derived trophic agent that promotes motoneuron survival in vivo. A partially purified fraction of muscle extract was shown to be heat and trypsin sensitive and rescued motoneurons from naturally occurring cell death in a dose-dependent fashion. Muscle extract had no effect on mitotic activity in the spinal cord and did not alter cell number when administered either before or after the normal cell death period. The survival promoting activity in the muscle extract appears to be developmentally regulated. Treatment with muscle extract during the cell death period did not permanently rescue motoneurons. The motoneuron survival-promoting activity found in skeletal muscle was not present in extracts from a variety of other tissues, including liver, kidney, lung, heart, and smooth muscle. Survival activity was also found in extracts from fetal mouse, rat, and human skeletal muscle. Conditioned medium derived from avian myotube cultures also prevented motoneuron death when administered in vivo to chick embryos. Treatment of embryos in ovo with muscle extract had no effect on several properties of developing muscles. With the exception of cranial motoneurons, treatment with muscle extract did not promote the survival of several other populations of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system that also exhibit naturally occurring cell death. Initial biochemical characterization suggests that the activity in skeletal muscle is an acidic protein between 10 and 30 kD. Examination of a number of previously characterized growth and trophic agents in our in vivo assay have identified several molecules that promote motoneuron survival to one degree or another. These include S100 beta, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin 4/5 (NT-4/5), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta), platelet-derived growth factor-AB (PDGF-AB), leukemia inhibitory factor (CDF/LIF), and insulin-like growth factors I and II (IGF). By contrast, the following agents were ineffective: nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin-3 (NT3), epidermal growth factor (EGF), acidic and basic fibroblast growth factors (aFGF, bFGF), and the heparin-binding growth-associated molecule (HB-GAM).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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