Function and expression of the Bcl-x gene in the developing and adult nervous system

Neuroreport. 1995 Oct 2;6(14):1917-21. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199510020-00023.


We have shown that overexpression of Bcl-x can rescue sympathetic neurones from nerve growth factor deprivation in vitro. We have also examined the distribution and expression of Bcl-x mRNA in the developing and adult nervous system using Northern blot and in situ hybridization. Bcl-x mRNA is widespread during development of the nervous system. In embryonic spinal cord, mRNA levels increase at the beginning of the naturally occurring cell death period, suggesting that Bcl-x may be involved in the selection of neurones during this period. In the brain, Bcl-x expression increases after birth to reach a high level in the adult brain. Neurones from the cortex, olfactory bulb, and Purkinje cells are among those expressing the highest levels of Bcl-x mRNA. The widespread expression of Bcl-x during development and in adult brain suggests of a role for Bcl-x beyond simply protecting neurones from developmental cell death.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Microinjections
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / cytology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / metabolism


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • RNA, Messenger