Nerve growth factor (NGF) was examined for its ability to elicit sprouting by adult molluscan neurons. Motoneurons and interneurons (but not neurosecretory cells) from Lymnaea exhibited a sprouting response to murine 2.5S NGF in defined medium with a half-maximal response at about 150 ng/mL. Furthermore, an NGF antiserum blocked sprouting by all normally responsive neurons. We tested whether an NGF-like molecule is a component of conditioned medium (CM) by attempting to preabsorb its sprout-inducing activity with NGF antiserum. Treatment of CM with immune (but not nonimmune) serum largely blocked the response of motoneurons, but not that of neurosecretory cells, to CM. We conclude that NGF exerts neurotrophic activity on specific adult Lymnaea neurons, and suggest the possibility that an NGF-like molecule may exist in the molluscan nervous system.