NGF-producing transfected 3T3 cells: behavioral and histological assessment of transplants in nigral lesioned rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • The rodent fibroblast clonal cell line, 3T3, was retrovirally transfected with the rat nerve growth factor (NGF) gene and selected for NGF synthesis. This study tested the hypothesis that transplanted 3T3 cells, transfected to secrete nerve growth factor (3T3NGF+), change motor behavioral indices created by striatal denervation in a dose-dependent fashion. 3T3NGF+ cells were transplanted into the lateral ventricle of rats following ipsilateral lesions of the substantia nigra pars compacta by stereotaxic injections of 6-hydroxydopamine (10 micrograms), an established lesion model. Control groups included vehicle injections and transplanted untransfected cells. The extent of the lesions was measured by determining rotational behavior before and two weeks after transplantation. Immediately prior to transplantation, cells were incubated with the fluorescent dye marker, Dil. To assess cell viability, whole brains were cryosectioned and examined for Dil-labeled 3T3 cells using fluorescent microscopy. The number of Dil-labeled profiles in five animals per group were counted in at least five noncontiguous sections per animal. From these data a statistically derived estimate of viable, transplanted 3T3 cells was obtained. The number of surviving transplanted cells correlated with the behavioral changes measured. The 3T3NGF+ transplants reduced rotational behavior, while control 3T3 transplants exacerbated rotational behavior. Thus, while NGF delivery was found to be beneficial, it was apparent that naive 3T3 had detrimental effects. These results underscore the importance of making dose-response measurements when attempting transplant-based modifications of CNS behavior.

publication date

  • June 1995