EGF and NGF injected into the brain of old mice enhance BDNF and ChAT in proliferating subventricular zone

Paola Tirassa, Viviana Triaca, Tiziana Amendola, Marco Fiore, Luigi Aloe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The response of cells localized in the brain subventricular zone (SVZ) to growth factor stimulation has been largely described for development and adult life, whereas no information on their behavior during aging is available. To address the question of whether the cells in the SVZ of old mice respond to the intracerebroventricular administration of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and nerve growth factor (NGF), we studied the distribution of proliferating cells and the effects on ChAT and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) synthesis in forebrain and SVZ. It was found that the conjoint administration of EGF + NGF produced a major increase in ChAT expression in both forebrain and SVZ. The ChAT mRNA levels and the number of ChAT positive cells localized in the ventricular border and in the parenchyma of SVZ area were also increased significantly in the mice receiving EGF + NGF. Enhanced numbers of SVZ cells expressing proliferative markers were also discovered in EGF + NGF treated mice and some of these cells expressed cholinergic markers, as demonstrated by double immunostaining. In addition, EGF and NGF treatments significantly upregulate BDNF protein and mRNA levels in this brain region. The present study demonstrates that cells localized in SVZ of aged mouse brain retain the capacity to respond to EGF and NGF and that after stimulation with these two growth factors, the synthesis of ChAT and BDNF also increases. The implication that cells of the SVZ remain a reservoir of cholinergic and BDNF-positive neurons in aged brain opens a new perspective for understanding the role of growth factors during neurodegenerative disorders associated with aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Aging
  • ChAT
  • Growth factors
  • Stem cells
  • Subventricular zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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