Original Article

Nerve growth factors prevent glutamate toxicity in cortical neuronal cultures

Ling Lin, He-Yun Zhang, Hai-Ming Gu, Guo-Zhi Tang, Zu-Xuan Zhang, Jin-Xi Wang, Wei-Ning Zhang, Rong-San Chen


AIM: To determine if nerve growth factors (NGF) can protect against glutamate-induced cortical neuron damage.
METHODS: Neuron viability and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) efflux in the bathing medium in primary cultures from 17-d-old mouse fetal cortex were measured to assay NGF effect. Imaging of the calcium indicator dye Fura-2 was used to measure the [Ca2+]i.
RESULTS: The LD50 for NGF-free glutamate was 0.2 mmol.L-1 (95% confidence limits 0-1.6 mmol.L-1). In the presence of NGF 60 micrograms.L-1, 59% of the neurons survived in glutamate 1.6 mmol.L-1. The protective effect afforded by NGF was maximal at 60 micrograms.L-1, at which it prevented the elevation in [Ca2+]i.
CONCLUSION: NGF protect cortical neurons against glutamate-induced toxicity via ""stabilizing"" [Ca2+]i level or suppression of the rise in [Ca2+]i.

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