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Neuroscience. 2004;124(4):757-66.

Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor: a component in chromaffin granules which promotes the survival of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurones in vitro and in vivo.

By: Hanke M, Farkas LM, Jakob M, Ries R, Pohl J, Sullivan AM.

Chromaffin cells can restore function to the damaged nigrostriatal dopaminergic system in animal models of Parkinson's disease. It has been reported that a protein which is released from chromaffin granules can promote the survival of dopaminergic neurones in vitro and protect them against N-methylpyridinium ion toxicity. This neurotrophic effect has been found to be mediated by astroglial cells and blocked by inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor signal transduction pathway. Here we report the identification of bovine heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) in chromaffin granules and the cloning of the respective cDNA from bovine-derived adrenal gland. Protein extracts from bovine chromaffin granules were found to promote the survival of embryonic dopaminergic neurones in culture, to the same extent as recombinant human HB-EGF. Furthermore, the neurotrophic action of the chromaffin granule extract could be abolished by antiserum to recombinant human HB-EGF. We also show that intracerebral injection of recombinant human HB-EGF protected the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system in an in vivo adult rat model of Parkinson's disease. Intracerebral administration of this protein at the same time as a 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the medial forebrain bundle was found to spare dopamine levels in the striatum and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunopositive neurones in the midbrain. This study has found that the main component in chromaffin granules responsible for their neurotrophic effect on dopaminergic neurones is HB-EGF. Furthermore, HB-EGF has significant protective effects on nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurones in vivo, making it a potential candidate for use in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.


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