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J Neurocytol. 1976 Jun;5(3):351-60.

Morphometric analysis of rat superior cervical ganglion after axotomy and nerve growth factor treatment.


The changes in neuronal number, cell body size and nuclear size have been followed for 12 weeks after postganglionic axotomy of the rat superior cervical ganglion. Axotomy was carried out at 6 days post partum and treatment with nerve growth factor (NGF) was from 6-21 days. During normal development there is a 30% decrease in the number of neurons in the superior cervical ganglion; axotomy increases the loss of cells resulting in a 90% decrease by 28 days post partum. The normal decrease is prevented and the enhanced loss of cells after axotomy is decreased by administration of NGF. Thus the increased number of cells observed after NGF administration appears to be due to the survival of cells that otherwise would have degenerated. NGF causes a rapid enlargement of both the cell bodies and the nucleus in the normal and axotomized ganglia. This increase in size rapidly reverses after cessation of treatment. These changes in cell size may account for the previously observed changes in cell profile number with NGF. There is a large increase in the number of non-neuronal cells during normal development and axotomy prevents this increase. NGF treatment results in a 6 fold increase in the number of non-neuronal cells and it is suggested that these are required to support the massive fibre outgrowth that occurs in NGF treated ganglia. It is concluded that these results are consistent with a physiological role for NGF as the trophic substance supporting adrenergic neurons making the appropriate contact with their target cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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