Neurotrophin sensitivity of prevertebral and paravertebral rat sympathetic autonomic ganglia

Robert E. Schmidt, Denise A. Dorsey, Lee A. Selznick, Peter S. DiStefano, Steven L. Carroll, Lucie N. Beaudet, Kevin A. Roth

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18 Scopus citations


Prevertebral and paravertebral sympathetic autonomic ganglia respond differently to a large number of experimental and clinical insults. The selective involvement of subpopulations of sympathetic neurons may reflect differences in their response to neurotrophic substances. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the response of prevertebral and paravertebral rat sympathetic ganglia to selected neurotrophic substances in vivo and in vitro and identified the ganglionic distribution of neurons expressing high affinity neurotrophin receptor mRNAs. Dissociated cultures of embryonic prevertebral and paravertebral ganglionic neurons showed comparable responses to NGF deprivation and only small differences in their response to rescue with other trophic substances. In situ hybridization studies of adult rat sympathetic ganglia using probes specific for the high-affinity neurotrophin receptor transcripts trks A, B, and C demonstrated that neurons in both prevertebral and paravertebral sympathetic ganglia express predominantly trkA receptors in vivo. In addition, increased tyrosine hydroxylase (TOH) activity was induced only by doses of neurotrophic substances that activate trkA and showed only small differences between neonatal prevertebral and paravertebral ganglia. Although small differences in the sensitivity of pre- and paravertebral sympathetic neurons to various neurotrophins have been identified in our studies, they are unlikely, in isolation, to explain major differences in the sensitivity of these ganglia to neuropathologic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-167
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Culture
  • In-situ hybridization
  • NGF
  • Neurotrophins
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase
  • trkA


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