Nerve growth factor is an autocrine survival factor for memory B lymphocytes

Cell. 1996 May 3;85(3):345-56. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81113-7.


Production of nerve growth factor (NGF) was assessed in cultures of human T and B lymphocytes and macrophages. NGF was constitutively produced by B cells only, which also expressed surface p140trk-A and p75NGFR molecules and hence efficiently bound and internalized the cytokine. Neutralization of endogenous NGF caused disappearance of Bcl-2 protein and apoptotic death of resting lymphocytes bearing surface IgG or IgA, a population comprising memory cells, while surface IgM/IgD "virgin" B lymphocytes were not affected. In vivo administration of neutralizing anti-NGF antibodies caused strong reduction in the titer of specific IgG in mice immunized with tetanus toxoid, nitrophenol, or arsonate and reduced numbers of surface IgG or IgA B lymphocytes. Thus, NGF is an autocrine survival factor for memory B lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / chemistry
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured / cytology
  • Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nerve Growth Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / immunology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / biosynthesis
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptor, trkA
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / physiology


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, trkA