Expression and histochemical localization of ciliary neurotrophic factor in cultured adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons

Histochem Cell Biol. 2007 Jul;128(1):35-43. doi: 10.1007/s00418-007-0290-x. Epub 2007 May 23.


Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is abundantly expressed in Schwann cells in adult mammalian peripheral nerves, but not in neurons. After peripheral nerve injury, CNTF released from disrupted Schwann cells is likely to promote neuronal survival and axonal regeneration. In the present study, we examined the expression and histochemical localization of CNTF in adult rat DRG in vivo and in vitro. In contrast to the restricted expression in Schwann cells in vivo, we observed abundant CNTF mRNA and protein expression in DRG neurons after 3 h, 2, 7, and 15 days in dissociated cell culture. At later stages (7 and 15 days) of culture, CNTF immunoreactivity was detected in both neuronal cell bodies and regenerating neurites. These results suggest that CNTF is synthesized and transported to neurites in cultured DRG neurons. Since we failed to observe CNTF immunoreactivity in DRG neurons in explant culture, disruption of cell-cell interactions, rather than the culture itself, may be an inducible factor for localization of CNTF in the neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Communication
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Neurites / enzymology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism


  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • RNA, Messenger