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J Neurobiol. 1996 Sep;31(1):77-87.

Nerve growth factor (NGF) regulation of estrogen receptors in explant cultures of the developing forebrain.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Estrogen profoundly affects the organization of the nervous system. Its receptor, a nuclear transcription factor, is widely expressed in the developing forebrain. Earlier work established that forebrain estrogen target neurons coexpress nerve growth factor (NGF) receptors and receptor mRNA. The present study examined the regulation of forebrain estrogen receptors by NGF, using organotypic cultures of the developing cerebral cortex and basal forebrain. NGF significantly increased nuclear estrogen binding in cortical but not basal forebrain explants. Both cortical and basal forebrain explant cultures express the NGF receptor, TrkA. However, our earlier observation that developing cortical neurons, unlike basal forebrain neurons, widely coexpress mRNAs for NGF and its cognate receptors, suggests that in the present study cortical neuronal responses to exogenous NGF may have been primed by autocrine mechanisms. Alterations in nuclear estrogen binding but not estrogen receptor mRNA levels suggests that NGF may regulate cortical estrogen receptors posttranscriptionally.

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