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1.  Regulation of nerve growth factor receptor gene expression by nerve growth factor in the developing peripheral nervous system 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1991;112(2):303-312.
Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a target-derived neurotrophic protein that promotes the survival and growth of developing sympathetic and sensory neurons. We have examined NGF receptor gene expression in these neurons after NGF administration. Northern blot and in situ hybridization analyses demonstrated that NGF given systemically to neonatal rats increased levels of NGF receptor mRNA in sympathetic neurons within the superior cervical ganglion. This increase was accompanied by a differential regulation of genes associated with neurotransmitter phenotype; tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA was increased, but neuropeptide Y mRNA was not. NGF receptor mRNA levels were also increased in L4-L5 dorsal root ganglia, although this mRNA was not expressed uniformly in sensory neurons of control or NGF-treated animals. Levels of T alpha 1 alpha-tubulin mRNA, a marker of neuronal growth, also increased. In contrast to developing neurons, systemic NGF did not increase NGF receptor mRNA in nonneuronal cells of the sciatic nerve. To determine if NGF regulated NGF receptor gene expression at the transcriptional level, we examined PC12 cells. NGF treatment for 6 h increased NGF receptor mRNA fourfold; this increase was inhibited by cycloheximide. Nuclear run-off transcription assays demonstrated that the increase in steady-state NGF receptor mRNA levels was mediated at the transcriptional level. In contrast, although NGF treatment increased steady-state tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA levels, this effect was not blocked by cycloheximide, and was not due to increased transcription. These data raise the possibility that transcriptional regulation of NGF receptor gene expression by target-derived NGF could be a molecular mechanism for potentiating NGF's effects on neurons during developmental periods of neuronal competition and cell death.
PMCID: PMC2288812  PMID: 1671048
2.  Nerve growth factor regulates both the phosphorylation and steady-state levels of microtubule-associated protein 1.2 (MAP1.2) 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1988;106(5):1573-1581.
This study characterizes effects of nerve growth factor (NGF) on the steady-state level and phosphorylation of a high molecular mass microtubule-associated protein in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells. Past work showed that NGF significantly raises the relative levels of this phosphoprotein, designated MAP1.2, with a time course similar to that of neurite outgrowth. To study this in greater detail, MAP1.2 in PC12 cell lysates was resolved by SDS-PAGE in gels containing 3.25% acrylamide/4 M urea and identified by comigration with material immunoprecipitated from the lysates by MAP1 antibodies. Quantification by metabolic radiolabeling with [35S]methionine or by silver staining revealed a 3.0-3.5-fold increase in MAP1.2 levels relative to total cell protein after NGF treatment for 2 wk or longer. A partial increase was detectable after 3 d, but not after 2 h of NGF exposure. As measured by incorporation of [32P]phosphate, NGF had a dual effect on MAP1.2. Within 15 min to 2 h, NGF enhanced the incorporation of phosphate into MAP1.2 by two- to threefold relative to total cell phosphoproteins. This value slowly increased thereafter so that by 2 wk or more of NGF exposure, the average enhancement of phosphate incorporation per MAP1.2 molecule was over fourfold. The rapid action of NGF on MAP1.2 could not be mimicked by either epidermal growth factor, a permeant cAMP derivative, phorbol ester, or elevated K+, each of which alters phosphorylation of other PC12 cell proteins. SDS-PAGE revealed multiple forms of MAP1.2 which, based on the effects of alkaline phosphatase on their electrophoretic mobilities, differ, at least in part, in extent of phosphorylation. Before NGF treatment, most PC12 cell MAP1.2 is in more rapidly migrating, relatively poorly phosphorylated forms. After long-term NGF exposure, most is in more slowly migrating, more highly phosphorylated forms. The effects of NGF on the rapid phosphorylation of MAP1.2 and on the long-term large increase in highly phosphorylated MAP1.2 forms could play major functional roles in NGF-mediated neuronal differentiation. Such roles may include effects on microtubule assembly, stability, and cross- linking and, possibly for the rapid effects, nuclear signaling.
PMCID: PMC2115037  PMID: 3372590
3.  Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Vector-Mediated Expression of Nerve Growth Factor Protects Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons from Peroxide Toxicity 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(1):519-532.
Nerve growth factor β subunit (β-NGF) transgene delivery and expression by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) vectors was examined in a cell culture model of neuroprotection from hydrogen peroxide toxicity. Replication-competent (tk− K mutant background) and replication-defective (ICP4−;tk− S mutant background) vectors were engineered to contain the murine β-NGF cDNA under transcriptional control of either the human cytomegalovirus immediate-early gene promoter (HCMV IEp) (e.g., KHN and SHN) or the latency-active promoter 2 (LAP2) (e.g., KLN and SLN) within the viral thymidine kinase (tk) locus. Infection of rat B103 and mouse N2A neuronal cell lines, 9L rat glioma cells, and Vero cells with the KHN or SHN vectors resulted in the production of β-NGF-specific transcripts and β-NGF protein reaching a maximum at 3 days postinfection (p.i.). NGF protein was released into the culture media in amounts ranging from 10.83 to 352.86 ng/ml, with the highest levels being achieved in B103 cells, and was capable of inducing neurite sprouting of PC-12 cells. The same vectors produced high levels of NGF in primary dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cultures at 3 days. In contrast to HCMV IEp-mediated expression, the LAP2-NGF vectors showed robust expression in primary DRG neurons at 14 days. The neuroprotective effect of vector produced NGF was assessed by its ability to inhibit hydrogen peroxide-induced neuron toxicity in primary DRG cultures. Consistent with the kinetics of vector-mediated NGF expression, HCMV-NGF vectors were effective in abrogating the toxic effects of peroxide at 3 but not 14 days p.i. whereas LAP2-NGF vector transduction inhibited apoptosis in DRG neurons at 14 days p.i. but was ineffective at 3 days p.i. Similar kinetics of NGF expression were observed with the KHN and KLN vectors in latently infected mouse trigeminal ganglia, where high levels of β-NGF protein expression were detected at 4 wks p.i. only from the LAP2; HCMV-NGF-driven expression peaked at 3 days but could not be detected during HSV latency at 4 weeks. Together, these results indicate that (i) NGF vector-infected cells produce and secrete mature, biologically active β-NGF; (ii) vector-synthesized NGF was capable of blocking peroxide-induced apoptosis in primary DRG cultures; and (iii) the HCMV-IEp functioned to produce high levels of NGF for several days; but (iv) only the native LAP2 was capable of long-term expression of a therapeutic gene product in latently infected neurons in vivo.
PMCID: PMC103859  PMID: 9847358
4.  Concentration-dependent regulation of neuronal gene expression by nerve growth factor 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1992;117(1):135-141.
NGF is a neurotrophic protein that promotes the survival, growth, and differentiation of developing sympathetic neurons. To directly determine the effects of different concentrations of NGF on neuronal gene expression, we examined mRNAs encoding the p75 low-affinity NGF (LNGF) receptor, T alpha 1 alpha-tubulin (T alpha 1), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in pure cultures of rat sympathetic neurons from postnatal day 1 superior cervical ganglia. Studies of the timecourse of gene expression during 2 wk in culture indicated that a 5-d incubation period would be optimal for the concentration-effect studies. Analysis of RNA isolated from neurons cultured in 2-200 ng/ml 2.5S NGF for 5 d revealed that, as the NGF concentration increased, neurons expressed correspondingly increased levels of all three mRNAs. Both LNGF receptor and TH mRNAs increased seven-fold, and T alpha 1 mRNA increased four- fold in neurons cultured in 200 versus 10 ng/ml NGF. In contrast, T26 alpha-tubulin mRNA, which is constitutively expressed, did not alter as a function of NGF concentration. When neurons were initially cultured in 10 ng/ml NGF for 5 d, and then 200 ng/ml NGF was added, LNGF receptor, T alpha 1, and TH mRNAs all increased within 48 h. The timecourse of induction differed: T alpha 1 mRNA was maximal by 5 h, whereas LNGF receptor and TH mRNAs first began to increase at 12 h after the NGF increase. These experiments show that NGF regulates expression of a subset of mRNAs important to neuronal growth and differentiation over a broad concentration range, suggesting that the effects of NGF may be mediated by more than just a single receptor operating at one fixed affinity. These results also suggest a mechanism for coupling neuronal synthesis of axonal proteins to increases in size of the innervated target territory during growth of the organism.
PMCID: PMC2289402  PMID: 1348250
5.  Astrocyte-derived TGF-beta 2 and NGF differentially regulate neural recognition molecule expression by cultured astrocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1991;115(2):473-484.
Because of the importance of neural recognition molecules expressed by glial cells to mediate interactions with neurons, growth factors and cytokines known to be functional during morphogenesis and in diseases of the nervous system were studied for their effects on recognition molecule expression by cultured immature and mature astrocytes from several brain regions. In cultures of immature astrocytes, transforming growth factors-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) and -beta 2 (TGF-beta 2) and nerve growth factor (NGF) increased expression of the neural adhesion molecule L1, leading to a glia-mediated L1-specific increase in neurite outgrowth of dorsal root ganglion neurons on the astrocyte substrate. L1 expression induced by TGF-beta was inhibited by addition of antibodies to NGF, suggesting that TGF-beta influences L1 expression by modulating production of NGF by astrocytes. TGF-beta 1 and -beta 2 decreased expression of N-CAM by immature astrocytes. Since N-CAM expression was not affected by NGF and antibodies to NGF did not abolish the TGF-beta-induced decrease in N-CAM expression, NGF did not appear to be the mediator for regulating expression of N-CAM. Expression of the adhesion molecule on glia (AMOG) was not affected by any factor. NGF and TGF-beta 2 in latent form, but not TGF-beta 1 were found in the culture supernatants. Addition of interferon-gamma (IFN- gamma), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin-6 (IL-6), platelet- derived growth factor (PDGF), or basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) to the cultures did not change recognition molecule expression. REcognition molecule expression by mature astrocytes was not found to be modified by any of the factors tested. In view of the observation that levels of L1 and N-CAM expression correlated with the presence of TGF-beta 2 and NGF in the culture supernatants of immature astrocytes, an autocrine regulatory mechanism for recognition molecule expression by these cells is suggested to play a crucial role in regulation of neuron-glia interactions.
PMCID: PMC2289154  PMID: 1717486
6.  Treatment of trigeminal ganglion neurons in vitro with NGF, GDNF or BDNF: effects on neuronal survival, neurochemical properties and TRPV1-mediated neuropeptide secretion 
BMC Neuroscience  2005;6:4.
Nerve growth factor (NGF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) all play important roles in the development of the peripheral sensory nervous system. Additionally, these growth factors are proposed to modulate the properties of the sensory system in the adult under pathological conditions brought about by nerve injury or inflammation. We have examined the effects of NGF, GDNF and BDNF on adult rat trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons in culture to gain a better understanding of how these growth factors alter the cytochemical and functional phenotype of these neurons, with special attention to properties associated with nociception.
Compared with no growth factor controls, GDNF, at 1 and 100 ng/ml, significantly increased by nearly 100% the number of neurons in culture at 5 days post-plating. A significant, positive, linear trend of increasing neuron number as a function of BDNF concentration was observed, also peaking at nearly 100%. NGF treatment was without effect. Chronic treatment with NGF and GDNF significantly and concentration-dependently increased 100 nM capsaicin (CAP)-evoked calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) release, reaching approximately 300% at the highest concentration tested (100 ng/ml). Also, NGF and GDNF each augmented anandamide (AEA)- and arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA)-evoked CGRP release, while BDNF was without effect. Utilizing immunohistochemistry to account for the proportions of TRPV1- or CGRP-positive neurons under each growth factor treatment condition and then standardizing evoked CGRP release to these proportions, we observed that NGF was much more effective in enhancing CAP- and 50 mM K+-evoked CGRP release than was GDNF. Furthermore, NGF and GDNF each altered the concentration-response function for CAP- and AEA-evoked CGRP release, increasing the Emax without altering the EC50 for either compound.
Taken together, our results illustrate that NGF, GDNF and BDNF differentially alter TG sensory neuron survival, neurochemical properties and TRPV1-mediated neuropeptide release in culture. In particular, our findings suggest that GDNF and NGF differentially modulate TRPV1-mediated neuropeptide secretion sensitivity, with NGF having a much greater effect on a per neuron basis than GDNF. These findings are discussed in relation to possible therapeutic roles for growth factors or their modulators in pathological pain states, especially as these relate to the trigeminal system.
PMCID: PMC548274  PMID: 15667652
7.  Comparison of the neuropoietic activity of gene-modified versus parental mesenchymal stromal cells and the identification of soluble and extracellular matrix-related neuropoietic mediators 
Transplanting mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) or their derivatives into a neurodegenerative environment is believed to be beneficial because of the trophic support, migratory guidance, immunosuppression, and neurogenic stimuli they provide. SB623, a cell therapy for the treatment of chronic stroke, currently in a clinical trial, is derived from bone marrow MSCs by using transient transfection with a vector encoding the human Notch1 intracellular domain. This creates a new phenotype, which is effective in experimental stroke, exhibits immunosuppressive and angiogenic activity equal or superior to parental MSCs in vitro, and produces extracellular matrix (ECM) that is exceptionally supportive for neural cell growth. The neuropoietic activity of SB623 and parental MSCs has not been compared, and the SB623-derived neuropoietic mediators have not been identified.
SB623 or parental MSCs were cocultured with rat embryonic brain cortex cells on cell-derived ECM in a previously characterized quantitative neuropoiesis assay. Changes in expression of rat neural differentiation markers were quantified by using rat-specific qRT-PCR. Human mediators were identified by using expression profiling, an enzymatic crosslinking activity, and functional interference studies by means of blocking antibodies, biologic inhibitors, and siRNA. Cocultures were immunolabeled for presynaptic vesicular transporters to assess neuronal specialization.
Among six MSC/SB623 pairs, SB623 induced expression of rat neural precursor, oligodendrocyte, and astrocyte markers on average 2.6 to 3 times stronger than did their parental MSCs. SB623 expressed significantly higher FGF2, FGF1, and BMP4, and lower FGFR1 and FGFR2 levels; and human FGF1, FGF2, BMPs, and HGF were implicated as neuropoietic mediators. Neural precursors grew faster on SB623- than on MSC-derived ECM. SB623 exhibited higher expression levels and crosslinking activity of tissue transglutaminase (TGM2). TGM2 silencing reduced neural precursor growth on SB623-ECM. SB623 also promoted the induction of GABA-ergic, but not glutamatergic, neurons more effectively than did MSCs.
These data demonstrate that SB623 cells tend to support neural cell growth more effectively than their parental MSCs and identify both soluble and insoluble mediators responsible, at least in part, for enhanced neuropoietic potency of SB623. The neuropoiesis assay is a useful tool for identifying beneficial factors produced by MSCs and their derivatives.
PMCID: PMC4055059  PMID: 24572070
8.  The herpes simplex virus type 1 latency-associated transcript promoter is activated through Ras and Raf by nerve growth factor and sodium butyrate in PC12 cells. 
Journal of Virology  1996;70(11):7424-7432.
Herpes simplex virus establishes latent infections in the nuclei of sensory neurons. These infections are characterized by the abundant expression of a series of 5' coterminal transcripts termed the latency-associated transcripts (LATs). Available evidence indicates that LAT expression is specifically regulated in latently infected neurons. Although previous studies have examined the regulation of LAT expression in neuronal and nonneuronal cells, the mechanism of regulation of LAT expression in neuronal cells in response to external factors has not been investigated. To address this question, we characterized the activity of LAT promoter fusion constructs in PC12 cells following treatment with nerve growth factor (NGF) and/or sodium butyrate (NaB), agents that affect expression of cell cycle-associated genes. Expression from the LAT promoter was induced 8- to 12-fold by either NGF or NaB alone and 40- to 60-fold when the two agents were added simultaneously. Fibroblast growth factor also induced expression from the LAT promoter but to a lesser extent than NGF. Treatment with factors such as epidermal growth factor, phorbol myristate acetate, cyclic AMP, or KCI had no significant effect on LAT promoter activity. Notably, promoter-reporter constructs containing immediate-early (ICP0 and ICP4), early (ICP8 and UL9), and late (UL10 and UL30) viral promoters were induced only two- to fourfold by NGF, suggesting that the LAT promoter may be unusual among herpes simplex virus genes in the magnitude of its response to this factor. To identify pathways leading to LAT activation in vitro, we characterized the response of the LAT promoter to NGF and/or NaB in PC12-derived cell lines containing mutations in specific signal transduction pathways. We found that activation of the LAT promoter requires Ras activation and that activation of the serine/threonine kinase, Raf, is sufficient to induce LAT expression. Together, these results indicate that the LAT promoter is regulated via the Ras/Raf signal transduction pathway in response to external factors such as NGF and NaB and that LAT expression may be regulated by NGF in latently infected neurons.
PMCID: PMC190809  PMID: 8892860
9.  Signaling pathways mediating a selective induction of nitric oxide synthase II by tumor necrosis factor alpha in nerve growth factor-responsive cells 
Inflammation and oxidative stress play a critical role in neurodegeneration associated with acute and chronic insults of the nervous system. Notably, affected neurons are often responsive to and dependent on trophic factors such as nerve growth factor (NGF). We previously showed in NGF-responsive PC12 cells that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and NGF synergistically induce the expression of the free-radical producing enzyme inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). We proposed that NGF-responsive neurons might be selectively exposed to iNOS-mediated oxidative damage as a consequence of elevated TNFα levels. With the aim of identifying possible therapeutic targets, in the present study we investigated the signaling pathways involved in NGF/TNFα-promoted iNOS induction.
Western blotting, RT-PCR, transcription factor-specific reporter gene systems, mutant cells lacking the low affinity p75NTR NGF receptor and transfections of TNFα/NGF chimeric receptors were used to investigate signalling events associated with NGF/TNFα-promoted iNOS induction in PC12 cells.
Our results show that iNOS expression resulting from NGF/TNFα combined treatment can be elicited in PC12 cells. Mutant PC12 cells lacking p75NTR did not respond, suggesting that p75NTR is required to mediate iNOS expression. Furthermore, cells transfected with chimeric TNFα/NGF receptors demonstrated that the simultaneous presence of both p75NTR and TrkA signaling is necessary to synergize with TNFα to mediate iNOS expression. Lastly, our data show that NGF/TNFα-promoted iNOS induction requires activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB).
Collectively, our in vitro model suggests that cells bearing both the high and low affinity NGF receptors may display increased sensitivity to TNFα in terms of iNOS expression and therefore be selectively at risk during acute (e.g. neurotrauma) or chronic (e.g. neurodegenerative diseases) conditions where high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the nervous system occur pathologically. Our results also suggest that modulation of NFκB-promoted transcription of selective genes could serve as a potential therapeutic target to prevent neuroinflammation-induced neuronal damage.
PMCID: PMC1242246  PMID: 16144552
10.  Characterization of a Nerve Growth Factor-Inducible Cellular Activity That Enhances Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Gene Expression and Replication of an ICP0 Null Mutant in Cells of Neural Lineage 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(7):5373-5382.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) ICP0 is required for efficient viral gene expression during lytic infection, especially at low multiplicities. A series of cellular activities that can substitute for ICP0 has been identified, suggesting that when the activity of ICP0 is limiting, these activities can substitute for ICP0 to activate viral gene expression. The cellular activities may be especially important during reactivation of HSV from neuronal latency when viral gene expression is initiated in the absence of prior viral protein synthesis. Consistent with this hypothesis, we have identified an inducible activity in cells of neural lineage (PC12) that can complement the low-multiplicity growth phenotype of an ICP0 null mutant, n212. Pretreatment of PC12 cells with nerve growth factor (NGF) or fibroblast growth factor (FGF) prior to infection produced a 10- to 20-fold increase in the 24-h yield of n212 but only a 2- to 4-fold increase in the yield of wild-type virus relative to mock treatment. Slot blot analysis of nuclear DNA isolated from infected cells treated or mock treated with NGF indicated that NGF treatment does not significantly affect viral entry. The NGF-induced activity in PC12 cells was expressed transiently, with peak complementing activity observed when cells were treated with NGF 12 h prior to infection. Addition of NGF 3 h after infection had little effect on virus yield. The NGF-induced cellular activity was inhibited by pretreatment of PC12 cells with kinase inhibitors that have high specificity for kinases involved in NGF/FGF-dependent signal transduction. RNase protection assays demonstrated that the NGF-inducible PC12 cell activity, like that of ICP0, functions to increase the level of viral mRNA during low-multiplicity infection. These results suggest that activation of viral transcription by ICP0 and transcriptional activation of cellular genes by NGF and FGF utilize common signal transduction pathways in PC12 cells.
PMCID: PMC110163  PMID: 9620991
11.  Significance of regenerating islet-derived type IV gene expression in gastroenterological cancers 
The regenerating islet-derived members (Reg), a group of small secretory proteins, which are involved in cell proliferation or differentiation in digestive organs, are upregulated in several gastrointestinal cancers, functioning as trophic or antiapoptotic factors. Regenerating islet-derived type IV (RegIV), a member of the Reg gene family, has been reported to be overexpressed in gastroenterological cancers. RegIV overexpression in tumor cells has been associated with carcinogenesis, cell growth, survival and resistance to apoptosis. Cancer tissue expressing RegIV is generally associated with more malignant characteristics than that without such expression, and RegIV is considered a novel prognostic factor as well as diagnostic marker in some gastroenterological cancers. We previously investigated the expression levels of RegIV mRNA of 202 surgical colorectal cancer specimens with quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and reported that a higher level of RegIV gene expression was a significant independent predictor of colorectal cancer. The biologic functions of RegIV protein in cancer tissue, associated with carcinogenesis, anti-apoptosis and invasiveness, are being elucidated by molecular investigations using transfection techniques or neutralizing antibodies of RegIV, and the feasibility of antibody therapy targeting RegIV is being assessed. These studies may lead to novel therapeutic strategies for gastroenterological cancers expressing RegIV. This review article summarizes the current information related to biological functions as well as clinical importance of RegIV gene to clarify the significance of RegIV expression in gastroenterological cancers.
PMCID: PMC3400851  PMID: 22826614
Regenerating islet-derived type IV protein; Gastrointestinal neoplasms; Prognosis; Epidermal growth factor receptor/protein kinase B
12.  Enhanced synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the lesioned peripheral nerve: different mechanisms are responsible for the regulation of BDNF and NGF mRNA 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1992;119(1):45-54.
Nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are molecules which regulate the development and maintenance of specific functions in different populations of peripheral and central neurons, amongst them sensory neurons of neural crest and placode origin. Under physiological conditions NGF is synthesized by peripheral target tissues, whereas BDNF synthesis is highest in the CNS. This situation changes dramatically after lesion of peripheral nerves. As previously shown, there is a marked rapid increase in NGF mRNA in the nonneuronal cells of the damaged nerve. The prolonged elevation of NGF mRNA levels is related to the immigration of activated macrophages, interleukin-1 being the most essential mediator of this effect. Here we show that transsection of the rat sciatic nerve also leads to a very marked increase in BDNF mRNA, the final levels being even ten times higher than those of NGF mRNA. However, the time-course and spatial pattern of BDNF mRNA expression are distinctly different. There is a continuous slow increase of BDNF mRNA starting after day 3 post-lesion and reaching maximal levels 3-4 wk later. These distinct differences suggest different mechanisms of regulation of NGF and BDNF synthesis in non-neuronal cells of the nerve. This was substantiated by the demonstration of differential regulation of these mRNAs in organ culture of rat sciatic nerve and Schwann cell culture. Furthermore, using bioassays and specific antibodies we showed that cultured Schwann cells are a rich source of BDNF- and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)- like neurotrophic activity in addition to NGF. Antisera raised against a BDNF-peptide demonstrated BDNF-immunoreactivity in pure cultured Schwann cells, but not in fibroblasts derived from sciatic nerve.
PMCID: PMC2289627  PMID: 1527172
13.  Nerve growth factor and Trk high affinity receptor (TrkA) gene expression in inflammatory bowel disease 
Gut  2000;46(5):670-679.
BACKGROUND—Nerve growth factor (NGF), a target derived factor for survival and maintenance of peripheral and central neurones, has been implicated in several chronic inflammatory processes.
AIMS—To analyse the concomitant presence of NGF and its high affinity receptor TrkA in patients undergoing surgery for Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).
PATIENTS—CD tissues were obtained from 33 patients and UC tissue samples from 12 patients undergoing surgery. Normal intestinal tissue samples were obtained from 30 individuals through an organ donor programme.
METHODS—Expression of NGF and TrkA was studied by northern blot analysis. Using in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry, the respective mRNA moieties and proteins were localised. Western blot analysis was used to confirm the specificity of NGF and TrkA antibodies.
RESULTS—In CD, NGF mRNA was increased in 60% (2.4-fold; p<0.01) and TrkA mRNA in 54% (1.3-fold; p<0.05) of samples. In UC, NGF mRNA expression was enhanced in 58% (2.4-fold; p<0.01) and TrkA mRNA expression in 50% (1.5-fold; p<0.05) of samples. In situ hybridisation showed that NGF and TrkA mRNA were often concomitantly present in polymorphonuclear-like cells of the lamina propria, in mast cells, and in a few ganglia of Auerbach's plexus and Meissner's plexus. Immunohistochemistry revealed that lamina propria cells and inflammatory cells (mainly mast cells) were NGF and TrkA immunopositive. NGF was also present in Meissner's plexus (especially in CD) and TrkA in enteric glia surrounding intestinal ganglia.
CONCLUSIONS—The concomitant enhanced expression of NGF and its receptor suggests activation of this pathway in chronic inflammation in CD and UC. The presence of NGF and TrkA in both neural and non-neural structures in CD and UC supports the hypothesis that neuroimmune interactions occur and are activated in both disorders.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; ulcerative colitis; inflammatory bowel disease; neuroimmune interaction; nerve growth factor; TrkA
PMCID: PMC1727937  PMID: 10764711
14.  Chronic Nerve Growth Factor Exposure Increases Apoptosis in a Model of In Vitro Induced Conjunctival Myofibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47316.
In the conjunctiva, repeated or prolonged exposure to injury leads to tissue remodeling and fibrosis associated with dryness, lost of corneal transparency and defect of ocular function. At the site of injury, fibroblasts (FB) migrate and differentiate into myofibroblasts (myoFB), contributing to the healing process together with other cell types, cytokines and growth factors. While the physiological deletion of MyoFB is necessary to successfully end the healing process, myoFB prolonged survival characterizes the pathological process of fibrosis. The reason for myoFB persistence is poorly understood. Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), often increased in inflamed stromal conjunctiva, may represent an important molecule both in many inflammatory processes characterized by tissue remodeling and in promoting wound-healing and well-balanced repair in humans. NGF effects are mediated by the specific expression of the NGF neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 1 (trkANGFR) and/or the pan-neurotrophin glycoprotein receptor (p75NTR). Therefore, a conjunctival myoFB model (TGFβ1-induced myoFB) was developed and characterized for cell viability/proliferation as well as αSMA, p75NTR and trkANGFR expression. MyoFB were exposed to acute and chronic NGF treatment and examined for their p75NTR/trkANGFR, αSMA/TGFβ1 expression, and apoptosis. Both NGF treatments significantly increased the expression of p75NTR, associated with a deregulation of both αSMA/TGFβ1 genes. Acute and chronic NGF exposures induced apoptosis in p75NTR expressing myoFB, an effect counteracted by the specific trkANGFR and/or p75NTR inhibitors. Focused single p75NTR and double trkANGFR/p75NTR knocking-down experiments highlighted the role of p75NTR in NGF-induced apoptosis. Our current data indicate that NGF is able to trigger in vitro myoFB apoptosis, mainly via p75NTR. The trkANGFR/p75NTR ratio in favor of p75NTR characterizes this process. Due to the lack of effective pharmacological agents for balanced tissue repairs, these new findings suggest that NGF might be a suitable therapeutic tool in conditions with impaired tissue healing.
PMCID: PMC3468503  PMID: 23071784
15.  SNT, a differentiation-specific target of neurotrophic factor-induced tyrosine kinase activity in neurons and PC12 cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1993;13(4):2203-2213.
To elucidate the signal transduction mechanisms used by ligands that induce differentiation and the cessation of cell division, we utilized p13suc1-agarose, a reagent that binds p34cdc2/cdk2. By using this reagent, we identified a 78- to 90-kDa species in PC12 pheochromocytoma cells that is rapidly phosphorylated on tyrosine following treatment with the differentiation factors nerve growth factor (NGF) and fibroblast growth factor but not by the mitogens epidermal growth factor or insulin. This species, called SNT (suc-associated neurotrophic factor-induced tyrosine-phosphorylated target), was also phosphorylated on tyrosine in primary rat cortical neurons treated with the neurotrophic factors neurotrophin-3, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and fibroblast growth factor but not in those treated with epidermal growth factor. In neuronal and fibroblast cells, where NGF can also act as a mitogen, SNT was tyrosine phosphorylated to a much greater extent during NGF-induced differentiation than during NGF-induced proliferation. SNT was phosphorylated in vitro on serine, threonine, and tyrosine in p13suc1-agarose precipitates from NGF-treated PC12 cells, indicating that this protein may be a substrate of kinase activities associated with p13suc1-p34cdc2/cdk2 complexes. In addition, SNT was associated predominantly with nuclear fractions following subcellular fractionation of NGF-treated PC12 cells. Finally, in PC12 cells, NGF-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of SNT was dependent on the levels of Trk tyrosine kinase activity and was constitutively induced by expression of pp60v-src. However, Ras was not required for constitutive SNT tyrosine phosphorylation, suggesting that this protein functions distally to Trk and pp60v-src but in a pathway parallel to that of Ras. SNT is the first identified specific target of differentiation factor-induced tyrosine kinase activity in neuronal cells.
PMCID: PMC359541  PMID: 7681142
16.  Role of nerve growth factor in the development of rat sympathetic neurons in vitro. III. Effect on acetylcholine production 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1977;75(3):712-718.
The effect of nerve growth factor (NGF) on the development of cholinergic sympathetic neurons was studied in cultures grown either on monolayers of dissociated rat heart cells or in medium conditioned by them. In the presence of rat heart cells the absolute requirement of neurons for exogenous NGF was partially spared. The ability of heart cells to support neuronal survival was due at least in part to production of a diffusable NGF-like substance into the medium. Although some neurons survived on the heart cell monolayer without added NGF, increased levels of exogenous NGF increased neuronal survival until saturation was achieved at 0.5 microgram/ml 7S NGF. The ability of neurons to produce acetylcholine (ACh) from choline was also dependent on the level of exogenous NGF. In mixed neuron-heart cell cultures, NGF increased both ACh and catecholamine (CA) production per neuron to the same extent; saturation occurred at 1 microgram/ml 7S NGF. As cholinergic neurons developed in culture, they became less dependent on NGF for survival and ACh production, but even in older cultures approximately 40% of the neurons died when NGF was withdrawn. Thus, NGF is as necessary for survival, growth, and differentiation of sympathetic neurons when the neurons express cholinergic functions as when the neurons express adrenergic functions (4, 5).
PMCID: PMC2111589  PMID: 925077
17.  NGF-Induced Cell Differentiation and Gene Activation Is Mediated by Integrative Nuclear FGFR1 Signaling (INFS) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68931.
Nerve growth factor (NGF) is the founding member of the polypeptide neurotrophin family responsible for neuronal differentiation. To determine whether the effects of NGF rely upon novel Integrative Nuclear FGF Receptor-1 (FGFR1) Signaling (INFS) we utilized the PC12 clonal cell line, a long-standing benchmark model of sympathetic neuronal differentiation. We demonstrate that NGF increases expression of the fgfr1 gene and promotes trafficking of FGFR1 protein from cytoplasm to nucleus by inhibiting FGFR1 nuclear export. Nuclear-targeted dominant negative FGFR1 antagonizes NGF-induced neurite outgrowth, doublecortin (dcx) expression and activation of the tyrosine hydroxylase (th) gene promoter, while active constitutive nuclear FGFR1 mimics the effects of NGF. NGF increases the expression of dcx, th, βIII tubulin, nurr1 and nur77, fgfr1and fibroblast growth factor-2 (fgf-2) genes, while enhancing binding of FGFR1and Nur77/Nurr1 to those genes. NGF activates transcription from isolated NurRE and NBRE motifs. Nuclear FGFR1 transduces NGF activation of the Nur dimer and raises basal activity of the Nur monomer. Cooperation of nuclear FGFR1 with Nur77/Nurr1 in NGF signaling expands the integrative functions of INFS to include NGF, the first discovered pluripotent neurotrophic factor.
PMCID: PMC3707895  PMID: 23874817
18.  Nerve Growth Factor Promotes Endothelial Progenitor Cell-Mediated Angiogenic Responses 
In response to ischemia, retinal neuronal cells express nerve growth factor (NGF), which can be proangiogenic. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) can participate with the resident vasculature to promote angiogenesis. We postulated that NGF may stimulate CD34+ EPCs to convert to an angiogenic phenotype.
Human CD34+ cells and human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) were used to examine the effect of NGF on key steps associated with neovascularization. CD34+ cells and HRECs were stimulated with NGF (1 to 4 pM) for 24, 48, and 72 hours. Cell migration was measured using a modified Boyden chamber assay. Expression of the receptor for the cytokine stromal derived growth factor 1 (SDF-1), CXCR-4, was assessed by flow cytometry. In vitro angiogenesis was tested using a three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix with HRECs/CD34+ cell cocultures. NGF receptor activation was assessed by western analysis.
NGF promoted proliferation of CD34+ cells but not HRECs. Pretreatment of CD34+ cells with NGF increased CXCR-4 expression in CD34+ cells, resulting in enhanced migration to SDF-1 (P < 0.0001). The enhanced tubule-forming effect of NGF in HRECs was further potentiated by coculture with NGF-pretreated CD34+ cells (P < 0.01). The beneficial effect of NGF was blocked (P < 0.0001) by the ERK inhibitor PD98059. In both CD34+ and HRECs, NGF increased phosphorylation of neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 1 (TrkA) receptor by ERK1 activation (P < 0.01).
Our in vitro results suggest that NGF released from ischemic nerves in vivo may contribute to the “angiogenic switch” by stimulating the angiogenic behavior of CD34+ cells while minimally affecting resident retinal endothelial cells.
NGF in the physiologic range significantly increases proliferation of CD34+ cells, but not human retinal endothelial cells. Pretreatment of CD34+ cells with NGF increases CXCR-4 expression and angiogenesis. NGF increases phosphorylation of TrkA receptors in both CD34+ and HRECs by ERK1 activation.
PMCID: PMC3711691  PMID: 22410557
19.  Changes of nerve growth factor synthesis in nonneuronal cells in response to sciatic nerve transection 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1987;104(6):1623-1631.
The intact sciatic nerve contains levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) that are comparable to those of densely innervated peripheral target tissues of NGF-responsive (sympathetic and sensory) neurons. There, the high NGF levels are reflected by correspondingly high mRNANGF levels. In the intact sciatic nerve, mRNANGF levels were very low, thus indicating that the contribution of locally synthesized NGF by nonneuronal cells is small. However, after transection an increase of up to 15-fold in mRNANGF was measured in 4-mm segments collected both proximally and distally to the transection site. Distally to the transection site, augmented mRNANGF levels occurred in all three 4-mm segments from 6 h to 2 wk after transection, the longest time period investigated. The augmented local NGF synthesis after transection was accompanied by a reexpression of NGF receptors by Schwann cells (NGF receptors normally disappear shortly after birth). Proximal to the transection site, the augmented NGF synthesis was restricted to the very end of the nerve stump that acts as a "substitute target organ" for the regenerating NGF-responsive nerve fibers. While the mRNANGF levels in the nerve stump correspond to those of a densely innervated peripheral organ, the volume is too small to fully replace the lacking supply from the periphery. This is reflected by the fact that in the more proximal part of the transected sciatic nerve, where mRNANGF remained unchanged, the NGF levels reached only 40% of control values. In situ hybridization experiments demonstrated that after transection all nonneuronal cells express mRNANGF and not only those ensheathing the nerve fibers of NGF-responsive neurons.
PMCID: PMC2114490  PMID: 3034917
20.  ΔNp73 Modulates Nerve Growth Factor-Mediated Neuronal Differentiation through Repression of TrkA▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(10):3868-3880.
p73, a member of the p53 family, expresses two classes of proteins: the full-length TAp73 and the N-terminally truncated ΔNp73. While TAp73 possesses many p53-like features, ΔNp73 is dominant negative towards TAp73 and p53 and appears to have distinct functions in tumorigenesis and neuronal development. Given its biological importance, we investigated the role of ΔNp73 in nerve growth factor (NGF)-mediated neuronal differentiation in PC12 cells. We show that overexpression of ΔNp73α or ΔNp73β inhibits NGF-mediated neuronal differentiation in both p53-dependent and -independent manners. In line with this, we showed that the level of endogenous ΔNp73 is progressively diminished in differentiating PC12 cells upon NGF treatment and knockdown of ΔNp73 promotes NGF-mediated neuronal differentiation. Interestingly, we found that the ability of ΔNp73 to suppress NGF-mediated neuronal differentiation is correlated with its ability to regulate the expression of TrkA, the high-affinity NGF receptor. Specifically, we found that ΔNp73 directly binds to the TrkA promoter and transcriptionally represses TrkA expression, which in turn attenuates the NGF-mediated mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Conversely, the steady-state level of TrkA is increased upon knockdown of ΔNp73. Furthermore, we found that histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and HDAC2 are recruited by ΔNp73 to the TrkA promoter and act as corepressors to suppress TrkA expression, which can be relieved by trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor. Taken together, we conclude that ΔNp73 negatively regulates NGF-mediated neuronal differentiation by transrepressing TrkA.
PMCID: PMC1899982  PMID: 17353261
21.  Identification and characterization of mRNAs regulated by nerve growth factor in PC12 cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1987;7(9):3156-3167.
Differential screening of cDNA libraries was used to detect and prepare probes for mRNAs that are regulated in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells by long-term (2-week) treatment with nerve growth factor (NGF). In response to NGF, PC12 cells change from a chromaffin cell-like to a sympathetic-neuron-like phenotype. Thus, one aim of this study was to identify NGF-regulated mRNAs that may be associated with the attainment of neuronal properties. Eight NGF-regulated mRNAs are described. Five of these increase 3- to 10-fold and three decrease 2- to 10-fold after long-term NGF exposure. Each mRNA was characterized with respect to the time course of the NGF response, regulation by agents other than NGF, and rat tissue distribution. Partial sequences of the cDNAs were used to search for homologies to known sequences. Homology analysis revealed that one mRNA (increased 10-fold) encodes the peptide thymosin beta 4 and a second mRNA (decreased 2-fold) encodes tyrosine hydroxylase. Another of the increased mRNAs was very abundant in sympathetic ganglia, barely detectable in brain and adrenals, and undetectable in all other tissues surveyed. One of the decreased mRNAs, by contrast, was very abundant in the adrenals and nearly absent in the sympathetic ganglia. With the exception of fibroblast growth factor, which is the only other agent known to mimic the differentiating effects of NGF on PC12 cells, none of the treatments tested (epidermal growth factor, insulin, dibutyryl cyclic AMP, dexamethasone, phorbol ester, and depolarization) reproduced the regulation observed with NGF. These and additional findings suggest that the NGF-regulated mRNAs may play roles in the establishment of the neuronal phenotype and that the probes described here will be useful to study the mechanism of action of NGF and the development and differentiation of neurons.
PMCID: PMC367950  PMID: 3670309
22.  Effect of Single Growth Factor and Growth Factor Combinations on Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells 
The effects on neural proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells (NSC) of basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (bFGF), insulin growth factor-I (IGF-I), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and nerve growth factor (NGF) were assessed. Also, following combinations of various factors were investigated : bFGF+IGF-I, bFGF+BDNF, bFGF+NGF, IGF-I+BDNF, IGF-I+NGF, and BDNF+NGF.
Isolated NSC of Fisher 344 rats were cultured with individual growth factors, combinations of factors, and no growth factor (control) for 14 days. A proportion of neurons was analyzed using β-tubulin III and NeuN as neural markers.
Neural differentiations in the presence of individual growth factors for β-tubulin III-positive cells were : BDNF, 35.3%; IGF-I, 30.9%; bFGF, 18.1%; and NGF, 15.1%, and for NeuN-positive cells was : BDNF, 34.3%; bFGF, 32.2%; IGF-1, 26.6%; and NGF, 24.9%. However, neural differentiations in the absence of growth factor was only 2.6% for β-tubulin III and 3.1% for NeuN. For β-tubulin III-positive cells, neural differentiations were evident for the growth factor combinations as follows : bFGF+IGF-I, 73.1%; bFGF+NGF, 65.4%; bFGF+BDNF, 58.7%; BDNF+IGF-I, 52.2%; NGF+IGF-I, 40.6%; and BDNF+NGF, 40.0%. For NeuN-positive cells : bFGF+IGF-I, 81.9%; bFGF+NGF, 63.5%; bFGF+BDNF, 62.8%; NGF+IGF-I, 62.3%; BDNF+NGF, 56.3%; and BDNF+IGF-I, 46.0%. Significant differences in neural differentiation were evident for single growth factor and combination of growth factors respectively (p<0.05).
Combinations of growth factors have an additive effect on neural differentiation. The most prominent neural differentiation results from growth factor combinations involving bFGF and IGF-I. These findings suggest that the combination of a mitogenic action of bFGF and postmitotic differentiation action of IGF-I synergistically affects neural proliferation and NSC differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2615141  PMID: 19137082
Neuron; Single growth factor; Combination of growth factors; Synergistic effect
23.  Effect of ulinastatin on growth inhibition, apoptosis of breast carcinoma cells is related to a decrease in signal conduction of JNk-2 and NF-κB 
This study aims to investigate the in vitro effects of Ulinastatin (UTI) and Taxotere (TXT) on cell proliferation; cell apoptosis; xenografted tumor growth; and expression of insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGF-1R), platelet-derived growth factor A (PDGFA), nerve growth factor (NGF), c-Jun N-terminal kinase 2 (JNk-2), and NF-κB in a human primary breast cancer cells and breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231.
The cell lines cultured were divided into four groups: 1) control group, 2) UTI group, 3) TXT group, and 4) UTI+TXT group. The method of MTT essay, flow cytometry, and RT-PCR were used to detect cell proliferation, cell apoptosis, and expression of IGF-1R, PDGFA, NGF, NF-κB, JNk-2, respectively. The growth of xenografted tumor in nude mice was used to calculate the anti-tumor rate. Immunohistochemistry staining (SP) was used to detect the expression of IGF-1R, PDGFA, NGF, ki-67, caspase-3, JNk-2, and NF-κB.
Proliferation of human breast cancer cells and MDA-MB-231 cell lines, and growth rate of xenografted tumor decreased in order of UTI+TXT > TXT > UTI > control, apoptosis increased in the order control < UTI < TXT < UTI+TXT. The gene expression and protein expression of IGF-1R, PDGFA, NGF, NF-κB and JNk-2 in breast cancer cells was inhibited by UTI and TXT.
UTI 1) inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cells and the growth of xenografted tumors, 2) induces cancer cell apoptosis, and 3) enhances the anti-tumor effect of TXT. This mechanism might be related to decreasing signal transduction of JNk-2 and NF-κB, and then expression of IGF-1R, PDGFA, NGF.
PMCID: PMC3275539  PMID: 22217202
Ulinastatin; Taxotere; Breast cancer; Proliferation; Apoptosis; JNk-2; NF-κB
24.  Differential effects of nerve growth factor and dexamethasone on herpes simplex virus type 1 oriL- and oriS-dependent DNA replication in PC12 cells. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(5):3580-3587.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genome contains three origins of DNA replication, one copy of oriL and two copies of oriS. Although oriL and oriS are structurally different, they have extensive nucleotide sequence similarity and can substitute for each other to initiate viral DNA replication. A fundamental question that remains to be answered is why the HSV-1 genome contains two types of origin. We have recently identified a novel glucocorticoid response element (GRE) within oriL that is not present in oriS and have shown by gel mobility shift assays that purified glucocorticoid receptor (GR), as well as GR present in cellular extracts, can bind to the GRE in oriL. To determine whether glucocorticoids and the GRE affect the efficiency of oriL-dependent DNA replication, we performed transient DNA replication assays in the presence and absence of dexamethasone (DEX). Because HSV-1 is a neurotropic virus and establishes latency in cells of neural origin, these tests were conducted in PC12 cells, which assume the properties of sympathetic neurons when differentiated with nerve growth factor (NGF). In NGF-differentiated PC12 cells, oriL-dependent DNA replication was enhanced 5-fold by DEX, whereas in undifferentiated cells, DEX enhanced replication approximately 2-fold. Notably, the enhancement of oriL function by DEX was abolished when the GRE was mutated. NGF-induced differentiation alone had no effect. In contrast to oriL, oriS-dependent DNA replication was reduced approximately 5-fold in NGF-differentiated PC12 cells and an additional 4-fold in differentiated cells treated with DEX. In undifferentiated PC12 cells, DEX had only a minor inhibitory effect (approximately 2-fold) on oriS function. Although the cis-acting elements that mediate the NGF- and DEX-specific repression of oriS-dependent DNA replication are unknown, a functional GRE is critical for the DEX-induced enhancement of oriL function in NGF-differentiated PC12 cells. The enhancement of oriL-dependent DNA replication by DEX in differentiated PC12 cells suggests the possibility that glucocorticoids, agents long recognized to enhance reactivation of latent herpesvirus infections, act through the GRE in oriL to stimulate viral DNA replication and reactivation in terminally differentiated neurons in vivo.
PMCID: PMC191505  PMID: 9094630
25.  Expression of trkA cDNA in neuroblastomas mediates differentiation in vitro and in vivo. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1993;13(12):7447-7456.
The human trkA cDNA was transfected into a malignant human neuroblastoma (NB) cell line (HTLA230) to investigate its role in NB growth and differentiation. This cell line lacks expression of both endogenous trkA and gp75NGFR genes. Transfectants expressing the trkA mRNA and surface-bound receptors transcriptionally activate immediate-early genes (c-fos, c-jun, and jun-B) following nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulation. NGF treatment induces growth arrest as well as down-regulation of the amplified N-myc oncogene. Genes selectively expressed in mature neurons (SCG-10, ret proto-oncogene, GAP-43, etc.) are transcriptionally activated, and neurite outgrowth further demonstrates differentiation of transfectants following NGF stimulation. trkA-expressing NB cells remain tumorigenic in nude mice; however, subcutaneous treatment of tumor-bearing mice with NGF induces Schwannian and neuronal cell differentiation similar to the induction seen in human ganglioneuroblastomas. Thus, trkA expression in HTLA230 cells is sufficient to generate a functional NGF receptor complex that leads to growth-arrested and differentiated NB cells in vitro and in vivo in the presence of NGF. Hence, NGF may play a crucial role in NB cell differentiation and regression in vivo.
PMCID: PMC364816  PMID: 8246962

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