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Keywords:

  • Thyroxine;
  • Nerve growth factor;
  • Brain;
  • Development;
  • Choline acetyltransferase;
  • Cholinergic neurons

Abstract: Effects of thyroxine (T4) on nerve growth factor (NGF) level and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity of rat brains were investigated. Repetitive intraperitoneal administration of T4 caused increases in both NGF level and ChAT activity in the frontal cortex, septum, hippocampus, and striatum and decreases in the cerebellum in 2-day-old rats. Only ChAT activity was elevated in the olfactory bulb, and the NGF level remained unchanged there. No changes were observed in the midbrain and pons/medulla. Furthermore, T4 was effective on the post-natal rats only up to day 11. These results suggest that T4 plays a role in the developmental regulation of NGF level and ChAT activity in rat brain in a region- and/or stage-specific manner. That (1) changes in NGF level and ChAT activity occurred in regions nearly identical to those that contained NGF-responding neurons, and (2) the change in NGF level in the hippocampus and frontal cortex was followed by the change of ChAT activity after a single injection of T4 suggest that the effects of T4 on cholinergic differentiation are, at least in part, mediated via NGF, which itself is quantitatively regulated by T4.