Soluble proteins from rat olfactory bulb promote the survival and differentiation of cultured basal forebrain neurons

Mary P. Lambert, Thomas Megerian, Gwenn Garden, William L Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A previous study of cholinergic development indicated a possible trophic relationship between the olfactory bulb and its afferents from the basal forebrain (Large et al., J. Neurochem., 46 (1986) 671-680). To examine this possibility further, cultured embryonic basal forebrain neurons from rat were used as a test system for trophic factor activity hypothesized to be present in olfactory bulb. Basal forebrain neurons grown in defined medium typically died within 2-3 days. However, survival and differentiation were strikingly enhanced by soluble extracts of olfactory bulb tissue. This trophic effect was noticeable with 2 μ/ml olfactory bulb protein, and plateaued at 100 μ/ml. The activity was heat- and trypsin-sensitive, non-dialyzable, stable in the cold, resistant to NGF antiserum, and approximately 100-150 kDa in size. Nerve growth factor, bovine serum albumin, laminin and extracts from heart did not mimic the activity. Long-term growth (21 days) in the presence of olfactory bulb proteins resulted in extensive neurite production, formation of thick neurite fascicles, and aggregation of cells. Some glia were present, as evidenced by the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein, and large numbers of cells were positive for neuron-specific enolase and true acetylcholinesterase. Trophic activity was also present in medium conditioned by olfactory bulb slices, implying secretion of active factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-276
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1988


  • Central nervous system
  • Cholinergic
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neuronal
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Survival
  • Trophic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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