10-26-2003, 12:08 PM
• Garrido R, King-Pospisil K, Son KW, Hennig B and Toborek M (2003). Nicotine upregulates nerve growth factor expression and prevents apoptosis of cultured spinal cord neurons. Neurosci Res 47:349-55. Summary: Modulation of neurotrophic factor expression may constitute an important part of neuroprotective effects of nicotine. Therefore, the effects of nicotine on expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptor, tyrosine receptor kinase A (trkA), were studied in cultured spinal cord neurons treated with arachidonic acid. Because injury to spinal cord is associated with elevated levels of arachidonic acid, this cell culture system has been developed in our laboratory as an in vitro model of neuronal injury in spinal cord trauma. Treatment with nicotine markedly upregulated NGF mRNA and protein expression in spinal cord neurons. In addition, a 12h treatment with nicotine increased mRNA levels of trkA. Both nicotine and exogenous NGF inhibited arachidonic acid induced apoptosis of spinal cord neurons. However, the blockage of the trkA receptor prevented nicotine-mediated anti-apoptotic effects. The present results indicate that increased expression of NGF may be an important element of the neuroprotective effects of nicotine in injured spinal cord neurons. Departments of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Kentucky Medical Center, 800 Rose Street, 40536, Lexington, KY, USA.