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Circ Res. 1996 Nov;79(5):930-9.

Expression of mRNAs for neurotrophins and their receptors in developing rat heart.

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Institute of Biotechnology, Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, University of Helsinki (Finland).


Because the neurotrophic system has not been systematically studied in developing heart, we studied the expression of mRNAs for neurotrophins and their high- and low-affinity receptors by radioactive in situ hybridization in the rat heart from embryonic day 9 (E9) to parturition. The neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) transcripts were seen in the group of Leu-7 immunoreactive cells in the ventricular region from E11 to parturition, suggesting that NT-3 is expressed in the part of the developing conduction system, mRNAs for truncated trk receptors, trkC.TK- and trkB.T1, were expressed in the outflow tract at E12 and in the walls of developing aorta and pulmonary trunk from E13 to parturition, whereas the mRNA for catalytic trkC.TK+ was revealed in the walls of aorta and pulmonary trunk from E13 to parturition and in the cardiac ganglion neurons from E14 to adult stage. Transcripts for low-affinity neurotrophin receptor (p75) were transiently seen in the distal outflow tract from E11 to E13, declining by E14. At E18, p75 transcripts were also seen in the cardiac ganglia. Transcripts for nerve growth factor, neurotrophin-4/5, trkA, or trkB.TK+ were not detected. Expression of NT-3 mRNA in the developing conduction system and of trkC.TK + mRNA in the cardiac neurons suggests a role for NT-3 in the innervation of the conduction system. Expression of trkC.TK+ in the wall of aorta and pulmonary trunk suggests that NT-3 also may affect the development of the smooth muscle cells.

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