Skip to main content

Role of neurotrophic factors in adaptational processes of the nervous system


Neurotrophic factors (NTF) are low-molecular-weight proteins which epigenetically determine neuron survival during embryogenesis and the maintenance of their morphofunctional properties in the adult organism. NTF are located in mesenchymal tissues and reach neuron bodies by means of retrograde axoplasmic transport in nerve fibers; in cell bodies, NTF increase anabolic activity, neurotransmitter synthesis, and structural protein production. Neuron cell bodies have two types of specialized receptors for binding the most common NTF, nerve growth factor (NGF). In the brain, NGF does not affect adrenergic neurons, as it does in the periphery, but acts on cholinergic neurons in the basal part of the forebrain. The forebrain plays the major role in the processes of learning, memory, and plasticity, i.e., in the entire complex of adaptational responses of the nervous system, and these may thus depend on the biological activities of substances, including NTF, in forebrain tissues. An experimental model was developed consisting of organotypic co-cultivation of rat hippocampus fragments with chick embryo dorsal root ganglia. This model was used to demonstrate that epileptiform activity in the hippocampus is associated with increases in NTF release, which can be regarded as an adaptive compensatory response to nerve cell damage occurring during convulsive activity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    N. B. Gorbunova and V. N. Kalyunov, “Experimental studies of nerve growth factor in different types of stress,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR, No. 3, 86–90 (1993).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    G. N. Akoev, N. I. Chalisova, S. L. Yatsuk, and M. I. Lyubyno, “Studies of the neurite-stimulating activity of cerebrospinal fluid in children,” in: Methods of Overcoming Pediatric Invalidity: Conference Papers [in Russian], Samara (1993), pp. 27.

  3. 3.

    G. N. Akoev and N. I. Chalisova, “Neurotrophic factors from the CNS,” Usp. Fiziol. Nauk,21, No. 4, 138–142 (1990).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    V. P. Goncharova, N. I. Chalisova, A. V. Romanyuk, et al., “Neurite-stimulating activity in tissue culture of a protein extracted from the lysosomal fraction of brain tissue,” Dokl. Akad. Nauk,285, No. 5, 1238–1241 (1985).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    V. N. Kalyunov, The Biology of Nerve Tissue Growth Factor [in Russian], Minsk (1986).

  6. 6.

    Y. A. Barde, D. Edgar, and H. Thoenen, “Purification of a new neurotrophic factor from mammalian brain,” EMBO J.,1, No. 3, 549–553 (1988).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    T. Ebendal, “Function and evolution in the NGF family and its receptors,” J. Neurosci. Res.,32, No. 1, 461–470 (1992).

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    A. G. Glasky, R. F. Ritzman, C. Melchion, et al., “AIT-82 modulates neuritogenesis through a carbon monoxide/guanylate cyclase mechanism and restores age-induced memory deficits,” Soc. Neurosci. Abstr.,20, No. 2, 1099 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    V. Hamburger and H. Hamilton, “A series of normal stages in the development of the chick embryo,” J. Morphol.,88, No. 1, 49–92 (1951).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    R. Klein, D. Martin-Zanca, H. Barbacid, et al., “Expression of the tyrosine kinase receptor gene trkB is confined to the murine embryonic and adult nervous system,” Development,109, No. 1, 845–850 (1990).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    S. Korshing, G. Auburger, R. Heumann, et al., “Levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its mRNA in the central nervous system of the rat correlate with cholinergic innervation,” EMBO J.,4, 1389–1393 (1985).

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    R. Levi-Montalcini and P. Angeletty, “Nerve growth factor,” Physiol. Rev.,48, 534–569 (1968).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    M. Mallat, R. Houglatte, P. Brachet, et al., “Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated rat brain macrophages release NGF in vitro,” Develop. Biol.,133, No. 1, 309–311 (1989).

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    S. L. Patterson, L. M. Grover, M. Bothwell, et al., “Activity-dependent changes in neurotrophin expression in rat hippocampal slices,” Soc. Neurosci. Abstr.,17, No. 1, 220 (1991).

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    M. Pelleymounter, M. Cullen, and M. Baker, “The effects of NGF and BDNF on the Morris water maze in aged rats,” Soc. Neurosci. Abstr.,20, No. 2, 1099 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    C. W. Shults, C. Shing, and C. A. Filart, “Effects of BDNF in animal models of Parkinson's disease,” Soc. Neurosci. Abstr.,20, No. 2, 1099 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Additional information

Laboratory of Receptive Physiology (G. N. Akoev, Director), I. P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology, St. Petersburg. Translated from Fiziologicheskii Zhurnal im. I. P. Sechenova, Vol. 81, No. 8, pp. 12–17, August, 1995.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Akoev, G.N., Chalisova, N.I. Role of neurotrophic factors in adaptational processes of the nervous system. Neurosci Behav Physiol 27, 207–211 (1997).

Download citation

Key words

  • Neurotrophic factors
  • adaptation
  • tissue culture