Author(s): Hagg T, FassHolmes B, Vahlsing HL, Manthorpe M, Conner JM,
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Abstract Intraventricular nerve growth factor (NGF) infusion in the adult rat can prevent and also, if delayed, reverse the disappearance of most of the axotomized medial septum cholinergic neurons immunostained for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). We have utilized the delayed NGF treatment protocol to (i) extend to 3 months the delay time between axotomy and NGF treatment, (ii) define the time course of their recovery, (iii) determine that immunostaining for the (lower affinity) NGF receptor (NGFR) parallels loss and reversal of the ChAT marker, and (iv) evaluate changes in cholinergic somal size following axotomy and subsequent NGF treatment. While NGF treatments starting only 7 days after the fimbria-fornix transection (axotomy) almost entirely restored the number of both ChAT- and NGFR-positive medial septum neurons, longer delayed (2-3 weeks) treatment brought about recovery from the baseline of 20-25\% to only about 70\% of the control numbers. This limited recoverability, however, persisted even after a 95 day delay period. In all cases examined maximal recoveries were achieved within 3-7 days of NGF treatment. Neuronal size analyses provided evidence for an axotomy-induced atrophy. NGF treatments, started with 1 or 2 week delays, not only reversed fully the average somal size loss but also induced an actual hypertrophy of several of those neurons. These results provide additional evidence that at least half of the apparent loss of cholinergic medial septum neurons upon axotomy is due to a loss of markers such as the transmitter-related enzyme ChAT and NGFR rather than to actual neuronal cell death. These results also show that NGF exerts a genuine trophic influence by regulating the size of its target neurons as well as their content of several proteins.
This article was published in Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy