Reversibility of nerve growth factor’s enhancement of choline acetyltransferase activity in cultured embryonic rat septum

Doris Nonner, Barry J. Brass, Ellen F. Barrett, John N. Barrett

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Choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and survival of acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-positive neurons were measured in low-density cultures of embryonic (Day 14-15) rat septum exposed to various sequences of nerve growth factor (NGF) exposure and deprivation for up to 7 weeks in vitro. Most septal cultures grown 4-5 weeks with no exogenous NGF (including exposure to monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies against NGF) retained both a basal ChAT activity and the ability to increase ChAT activity in response to subsequently added NGF. When cultures were exposed to NGF (7S, 0.75 nM) for 2-3 weeks and then deprived of NGF for 2 weeks, ChAT activity fell gradually, but the number of AChE-positive neurons remained unchanged, and in many cases ChAT activity could be restored by subsequent re-exposure to NGF. Thus NGF's enhancement of ChAT activity in embryonic septal neurons in vitro is largely reversible and is not mediated by differential survival of cholinergic neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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