Cholinergic control of nerve growth factor in adult rats: Evidence from cortical cholinergic deafferentation and chronic drug treatment

Steffen Roßner, Gitta Wörtwein, Zezong Gu, Juan Yu, Reinhard Schliebs, Volker Bigl, J. Regino Perez-Polo

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    32 Scopus citations


    It is well documented that nerve growth factor (NGF) plays an important role in maintaining functions of cholinergic basal forebrain neurons. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that cholinergic activity controls NGF levels in cholinoceptive neurons of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. To address that question, we used both cholinergic deafferentation of cerebral cortex and hippocampus by cholinergic immunolesion with 192IgG- saporin and chronic pharmacological treatment of sham-treated and immunolesioned rats with the cholinergic agonist pilocarpine and the cholinergic antagonist scopolamine. We observed an increase in NGF protein levels in the cortex and hippocampus after cholinergic immunolesions and also after muscarinic receptor blockade by chronic intracerebroventricular scopolamine infusion in sham-treated rats after 2 weeks. There was no further increase in the accumulation of NGF after scopolamine treatment of immunolesioned rats. Chronic infusion of pilocarpine had no effect on cortical and hippocampal NGF protein levels in sham-treated rats. In rats with cholinergic immunolesions, however, pilocarpine did prevent the lesion- induced accumulation of NGF. There was no effect of cholinergic lesion and drug treatment on cortical or hippocampal NGF mRNA levels, consistent with the importance of NGF retrograde transport as opposed to its de novo synthesis. This study provides strong evidence for the hypothesis that there is cholinergic control of cortical and hippocampal NGF protein but not mRNA levels in adult rats.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)947-953
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of neurochemistry
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 1997


    • 192IgG-saporin
    • Immunolesion
    • Muscarinic
    • Nerve growth factor
    • Pilocarpine
    • Scopolamine

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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