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J Comp Neurol. 1997 Jun 30;383(2):123-34.

Evidence that perihypoglossal neurons involved in vestibular-auditory and gaze control functions respond to nerve growth factor.

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Neuropathology Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2196, USA.


Nerve growth factor (NGF), which has long been considered to be a trophic factor for peripheral sensory and sympathetic neurons, has been found recently to influence cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain and neostriatum. In the present study, we provide evidence that brainstem neurons in the perihypoglossal area that relay information from the inner ear and vestibular apparatus to the cerebellum and tectum are responsive to NGF. These neurons, which are located in the nucleus prepositus hypoglossi (NPH), spinal vestibular nucleus, cochlear complex, and gigantocellular and paragigantocellular nuclei of the reticular formation, express functional receptors for NGF and up-regulate the expression of trkA receptors after injection of NGF into targets. In addition, the developmental up-regulation of NGF in the cerebellum coincides with the differentiation of the perihypoglossal nuclei. These results suggest that neurons representing the principal brain relays for auditory and vestibular pathways and perihypoglossal neurons involved in gaze coordination are a novel group of central neurons (besides cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain and neostriatum) that respond to NGF.

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