Nerve growth factor (NGF) plays a critical role in the maintenance and survival of both sympathetic and sensory nerves. Also, NGF can regulate receptor expression and neuronal activity in the sympathetic and sensory neurons. Abnormalities in NGF regulation are observed in patients and animals with heart failure (HF). Nevertheless, the effects of chronic HF on the levels of NGF within the sympathetic and sensory nerves are not known. Thus, the ELISA method was used to assess the levels of NGF in the stellate ganglion (SG) and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons of control rats and rats with chronic HF induced by myocardial infarction. Our data show for the first time that the levels of NGF were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in the SG and DRG neurons 6-20 weeks after ligation of the coronary artery. In addition, a close relation was observed between the NGF levels and the left ventricular function. In conclusion, chronic HF impairs the expression of NGF in the sympathetic and sensory nerves. Given that sensory afferent nerves are engaged in the sympathetic nervous responses to somatic stimulation (i.e. muscle activity during exercise) via a reflex mechanism, our data indicate that NGF is likely responsible for the development of muscle reflex-mediated abnormal sympathetic responsiveness observed in chronic HF.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience