Nerve growth factor regulates sympathetic ganglion cell morphology and survival in the adult mouse

Kenneth G. Ruit, Patricia A. Osborne, Robert E. Schmidt, Eugene M. Johnson, William D. Snider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have investigated the effects of prolonged systemic injections of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its antiserum on the survival and morphology of sympathetic ganglion cells in adult mice. Using intracellular injections of Lucifer yellow in lightly fixed superior cervical ganglia, we show that total dendritic lengths of ganglion cells are increased 29% after 2 weeks of NGF treatment. The increased dendritic length is characterized by increased branching within the dendritic arborization and not by the addition of new primary dendrites. In addition, cell soma cross-sectional area was increased 45%. Conversely, administration of NGF antiserum for 1 month decreased total dendritic length by 33%, decreased ganglion cell body size by 26%, and reduced the number of neurons in the ganglion by 25%. After 3 months of NGF antiserum treatment, the number of neurons in the ganglion was reduced a total of 41 %. NGF antiserum treatment for 1 month in aged (22 months old) animals reduced ganglion cell body size by 21% and cell number by 22%, decreases that are comparable to those observed in young adult animals. Our results indicate that, even in maturity, sympathetic ganglion cells remain dependent on NGF for survival and maintenance of dendritic geometry, and this dependence continues into old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2412-2419
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

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