Some neurodegenerative disorders may be caused by abnormal synthesis or utilization of trophic molecules required to support neuronal survival. A test of this hypothesis requires that trophic agents specific for the affected neurons be identified. Cholinergic neurons in the corpus striatum of neonatal rats were found to respond to intracerebroventricular administration of nerve growth factor with prominent, dose-dependent, selective increases in choline acetyltransferase activity. Cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain also respond to nerve growth factor in this way. These actions of nerve growth factor may indicate its involvement in the normal function of forebrain cholinergic neurons as well as in neurodegenerative disorders involving such cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas