Nerve growth factor (NGF), in addition to being a neurotrophic substance, has effects on the endocrine and immune systems. For example, intravenous injection of NGF results in a cascade of events leading to an increase in glucocorticoid secretion. While this response appears to be mediated centrally, there has been no evidence that circulating NGF has access to the CNS. Using intravenous injections of 125I‐NGF, we find specific uptake at 1 hr but none at 6 hr, into homogenates of the basal forebrain, cerebellum, frontal cortex, hippocampus, and olfactory bulb. By autoradiography, uptake is localized to circumventricular organs, deep layers of the cerebellum, and all layers of the hippocampal region CA1, but not the dentate gyrus. Thus, uptake of blood‐borne NGF could affect the hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal axis via binding to NGF receptors present in the hippocampus. However, the sources of endogenous NGF, the mechanism of access through the blood‐brain barrier, the eventual fate of NGF entering from the blood, and the physiological significance of this uptake remain to be elucidated. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- blood‐brain barrier
- circumventricular organs
- hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal axis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience