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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Endogenous ciliary neurotrophic factor is a lesion factor for axotomized motoneurons in adult mice.

Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is an abundant cytosolic molecule in myelinating Schwann cells of adult rodents. In newborn animals in which CNTF is not yet expressed, exogenous CNTF that is locally administered very effectively protects motoneurons from degeneration by axotomy. To evaluate whether endogenous CNTF, released after nerve injury from the cytosol of Schwann cells, supports motoneuron survival, we transected the facial nerve in 4-week-old pmn mice. In this mouse mutant a rapidly progressing degenerative disease of motoneurons starts by the third postnatal week at the hindlimbs and progresses to the anterior parts of the body, leading to death by the seventh to eighth week. Apoptotic death of motoneurons can be observed during this period, as revealed by TUNEL staining. In 6-week-old unlesioned pmn mice approximately 40% of facial motoneurons have degenerated. Facial nerve lesion dramatically increased the number of surviving motoneurons in pmn mice. This protective effect was absent in pmn mice lacking endogenous CNTF. Quantitative analysis of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) mRNA expression revealed that the dramatic upregulation seen in wild-type mice after peripheral nerve lesion did not occur in pmn mice. Therefore, endogenous LIF cannot compensate for the lack of CNTF in pmn crossbred with CNTF knock-out mice. Thus, endogenous CNTF released from lesioned Schwann cells supports the survival of axotomized motoneurons under conditions in which motoneurons are in the process of rapid degeneration.[1]


  1. Endogenous ciliary neurotrophic factor is a lesion factor for axotomized motoneurons in adult mice. Sendtner, M., Götz, R., Holtmann, B., Thoenen, H. J. Neurosci. (1997) [Pubmed]
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