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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Feb 22;391(4):407-28.

p75NTR and Trk receptors are expressed in reciprocal patterns in a wide variety of non-neural tissues during rat embryonic development, indicating independent receptor functions.

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Division of Life Sciences, The University of Texas at San Antonio 78249, USA.


The p75 kDa neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) has been detected in a number of non-neural tissues, especially during development. Reports of Trk receptor transcripts in non-neural tissues raise the possibility that the sites of p75NTR expression during development may correlate with Trk receptor expression. Coexpression of p75NTR with the Trk receptors in developing non-neural tissues would support the hypothesis that there is a cooperative function between the two receptor subclasses. To address these questions, p75NTR was localized relative to the three known Trk receptors in adjacent sections of rat embryos at stages of development when the highest levels of p75NTR have been observed in the muscle, maxillary pad, kidney, and lung. Using in situ hybridization and immunhistochemical analyses, we show here that the Trk receptors are expressed extensively in non-neural tissues during cell differentiation and tissue morphogenesis but in patterns that are generally reciprocal to that of p75NTR. The results indicate p75NTR most likely functions independently of the Trk receptors in most developing non-neural tissues. However, the p75NTR consistently appears in non-neural cells adjacent to those expressing Trk receptors. The reciprocal patterns of expression indicate that the separate activities of the two receptors most likely complement each other in regulating cell-cell interactions important for the innervation of developing non-neural tissues.

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