Production of nerve growth factor by cultured vascular smooth muscle cells from spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rats

J Hypertens. 1993 Oct;11(10):1061-5. doi: 10.1097/00004872-199310000-00009.


Objective: Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neurotrophic protein which acts on peripheral sympathetic nerves. Elevated NGF in vascular tissues of young spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) has been reported. The aim of the present study was to compare the amount of NGF secreted from cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and mesenteric artery and thoracic aorta segments from SHR and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats.

Methods: VSMC prepared by the enzyme digestion method from the thoracic aortic media of 14-week-old SHR and age-matched WKY rats were subcultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium containing 10% fetal calf serum. Segments of mesenteric artery and thoracic aorta from 4-week-old SHR and age-matched WKY rats were similarly cultured. The NGF content in conditioned medium was measured using an enzyme immunoassay. The protein content of VSMC was measured by the Lowry method.

Results: Total NGF content in the cell culture medium was increased during an exponential growth phase and then gradually decreased during a quiescent phase in both rat strains. There were no significant differences in the levels of NGF secreted from mesenteric artery and thoracic aorta segments between the SHR and WKY rats. The differences in cellular protein content between SHR and WKY rats were very small.

Conclusions: In contrast to the reports of increased NGF in SHR tissues, our data demonstrate that NGF secretion was lower in VSMC from SHR, and was equivalent in mesenteric artery and thoracic aorta segments from SHR and WKY rats. We have no clear explanation for these observations, but the present results indicate that upregulation of NGF in SHR tissues is not responsible for a simple enhancement of NGF synthesis in VSMC, and suggest a breakdown of the regulatory mechanism or mechanisms of NGF gene expression in SHR tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / cytology
  • Aorta, Thoracic / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mesenteric Arteries / cytology
  • Mesenteric Arteries / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR / metabolism*
  • Rats, Inbred WKY / metabolism*


  • Nerve Growth Factors