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Abstract—

A radioimmunoassay was developed which can measure accurately concentrations of mouse 7S nerve growth factor antigens (NGFA) as low as 3·0 ng/ml in serum or tissue homogenates. Extremely large amounts of presumed nerve growth factor were found in the submaxillary gland; but considerable quantities were also present in mouse serum, kidney, adrenal gland and vas deferens. Heart, spleen, liver and muscle contained less of the presumed nerve growth factor, and only small amounts were recovered from brain. Rat adrenal gland and serum from rats, guinea pigs and man contained much less immunologically reactive material. The level of presumed nerve growth factor in the mouse heart was highest at birth and decreased slowly during maturation. In the mouse submaxillary gland the content of presumed nerve growth factor increased rapidly after 2 weeks of postnatal age, with higher levels found in male animals. Destruction with 6-hydroxydopamine of the sympathetic nerves in the hearts of newborn or adult mice did not significantly alter the amount of presumed nerve growth factor recovered in the heart.