Preparation and biological properties of native and recombinant ciliary neurotrophic factor

J Neurobiol. 1992 Jul;23(5):481-90. doi: 10.1002/neu.480230504.


CNTF (ciliary neurotrophic factor), purified from rabbit sciatic nerves by a relatively simple procedure, is bioactive in tissue culture at low picomolar concentration and appears as a doublet on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). In these nerves, CNTF accounts for more than one-half of the survival-promoting activity on ciliary neurons. The concentration of CNTF in rabbit sciatic nerves is estimated to be 5 nmol/kg, more than 1000 times higher than would seem to be required to support neurons if the neurotrophic factor were homogeneously distributed. With recombinant DNA technology, rat CNTF has been synthesized in Escherichia coli, purified without denaturating agents, and found to be bioactive at a slightly lower concentration than CNTF extracted from rabbit sciatic nerves. After radioiodination, CNTF retains biological activity but is not specifically internalized and retrogradely transported in motor and sensory axons. In peripheral nerves, ciliary neurotrophic factor differs biologically from nerve growth factor (NGF) by its much higher tissue concentration and apparent lack of internalization by peripheral nerve axons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Parasympathetic / cytology
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / pharmacology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / pharmacology
  • Sciatic Nerve / chemistry


  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins