Evidence for a Role of NGF in the Visual System
It is generally accepted that the development, maintenance and survival of specific neuronal populations, both in the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS), is dependent upon the supply of diffusable trophic molecules, produced in limiting amounts by neurons and/or glia in their target fields (for review, see Thoenen et al., 1987). The prototype of neuronotrophic factors, Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is essential for neural crest-derived sensory and peripheral symphathetic neurons (Levi -Montalcini and Angeletti, 1968) and for cholinergic neurons of forebrain nuclei in the CNS (Hefti, 1986; Vantini et al., 1989). In all these NGF-responsive peripheral and central neurons, NGF binds to specific cell surface receptors (NGFRs) expressed both on cell bodies and axonal terminals in the innervated target area (Greene and Shooter, 1980). The immunocytochemical mapping of the NGFR with the 192-IgG monoclonal antibody (Chandler et al., 1984) has demonstrated that the receptor is expressed by many different neuronal population in the CNS (Yan and Johnson, 1989; Pioro and Cuello, 1990), suggesting that NGF, or an NGF-like molecule have a trophic role for many other cell types beyond the cholinergic ones. The first evidence that NGF may also be active in the visual system was obtained in the early eighties when it was demonstrated that NGF, when intraocularly supplied to axotomized retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the goldfish, enhanced the process of axonal regneration in the transected optic nerve (ON). More recent studies (Yan et al., 1989; Pioro and Cuello, 1990) have demonstrated that the NGFR is expressed in many nuclei of the visual system receiving a retinal input both in developing and adult rats.
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Retinal Ganglion Cell Inner Nuclear Layer Nerve Growth Factor Receptor Monocular Deprivation
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