• Ciliary neurons;
  • Trophic factors;
  • Purification;
  • Choroid

Abstract: An aqueous extract derived from selected intraocular tissues of 15-day chick embryos contains a soluble macromolecular agent which is capable of ensuring the survival of 8-day chick embryonic ciliary ganglionic neurons in monolayer culture. When this ciliary neuronotrophic factor (CNTF) was concentrated using ultrafiltration and subjected to Sephadex G100 and G200 chromatography, activity was detected in most of the eluted fractions. A peak of the most active fractions was eluted in a region corresponding to a molecular weight of 35–40 ± 103 and contained about 20-30% of the applied protein. CNTF activity bound readily to DE-52 cellulose resin at neutral pH and was eluted with NaCl in a narrow region containing about 20-40% of the applied protein. Gel electrophoretic staining profiles of the active DE52 fraction indicated considerable (but still only partial) simplification in protein composition. While significant CNTF activity losses were incurred in response to each of the above treatments, an active material could be conveniently generated in one working day in milligram amounts having a specific activity of 60,000 trophic units/mg protein. This trophic activity is in the same range as that of the only other known neuronotrophic factor, Nerve Growth Factor.