Chronic nerve growth factor treatment of normotensive rats

C. Zettler, R. J. Head, R. A. Rush

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of chronic nerve growth factor (NGF) administration on vascular innervation and blood pressure in neonatal rats. Newborn Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats bred from normotensive parents were chronically treated with NGF for 8 weeks. Littermate controls received saline. Sympathetic ganglia of treated animals were greatly enlarged and in the superior cervical ganglion neuronal numbers were increased 200% and nuclear areas by 46%. The catecholamine contents of several sympathetically innervated tissues were determined biochemically and found to be significantly elevated in mesenteric arteries, aorta, ileum, adrenal and salivary glands from treated compared to control animals. The catecholamine concentrations were similar to, or exceeded those of the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Histochemically, an aberrant nerve supply was evident occupying a greater volume of the adventitia of the caudal artery and mesenteric arteries. In addition, nerve fibres could be seen penetrating the vessel wall to emerge within the lumen of mesenteric blood vessels. Analysis of the smooth muscle wall of the caudal artery revealed that a small but significant hyperplastic response had been induced. Systolic blood pressures of NGF-treated and control animals were taken at one week intervals from 5 to 8 weeks of age utilizing the tail cuff method. The blood pressures of treated animals were within the normotensive range. It is concluded that chronic NGF treatment leads to changes in vascular innervation and muscle thickness that are similar to those seen in hypertensive animals. Furthermore, the results suggest the elevated levels of NGF seen in peripheral tissues of the spontaneously hypertensive rat are likely to be responsible for the hyperinnervation and resulting hyperplastic responses within vascular tissues, but not exclusively responsible for the elevated blood pressure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-262
    Number of pages12
    JournalBrain Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 1991


    • Catecholamine
    • Hyperplasia
    • Hypertension
    • Hypertrophy
    • Nerve growth factor
    • Smooth muscle
    • Sympathetic
    • Vascular
    • Wistar-Kyoto rat


    Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic nerve growth factor treatment of normotensive rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this