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Regulation of Trophic Factor Expression by Innervating Target Regions in Intraocular Double Transplants

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Trophic factors have been found to play a significant role both in long-term survival processes and in more rapid and dynamic processes in the brain and spinal cord. However, little is known regarding the regulation of expression of growth factors, and how these proteins interact on a cell-to-cell basis. We have studied protein levels of one growth factor known to affect the noradrenergic innervation of the hippocampal formation, namely brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The purpose of the present study was to determine if appropriate innervation or contact between the LC noradrenergic neurons and their target, the hippocampus, affects expression of this growth factor in either brain region. Fetal brain stem tissue, containing the LC, and hippocampal formation were dissected from embryonic day 17 rat fetuses and transplanted together or alone into the anterior chamber of the eye of adult Fisher 344 rats. The tissue was grown together for 6 weeks, after which the animals were sacrificed and ELISAs for BDNF were undertaken. Transplantation to the anterior chamber of the eye increased the expression of BDNF in the hippocampal but not the brain stem tissue, compared with levels observed in fetal and adult rats in vivo. In addition, double grafting with hippocampal tissue more than tripled BDNF levels in brain stem grafts and doubled BDNF levels in the hippocampal portion of double grafts compared with hippocampal single grafts. Triple grafts containing basal forebrain, hippocampus, and brain stem LC tissue increased brain stem and hippocampal BDNF levels even further. Colchicine treatment of LC-hippocampal double grafts gave rise to a significant decrease in hippocampal BDNF levels to levels seen in single hippocampal grafts, while only a partial reduction of BDNF levels was seen in the brain stem portion of the same double grafts treated with colchicine. The findings suggest that an appropriate hippocampal innervation or contact with its target tissues is essential for regulation of BDNF expression in the brain stem, and that retrograde transport of BDNF can occur between double grafted fetal tissues in oculo.
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Keywords: BDNF; Hippocampal formation; Locus coeruleus; Neurotrophins; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology and Neuroscience and the Center on Aging, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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