|Authors||Bjorling DE, Beckman M, Clayton MK, Wang ZY|
|Journal||Neuroscience Volume: 110 Issue: 1 Pages: 155-67|
Nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesized in peripheral organs plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of the nervous system and also participates in processing nociceptive stimuli. Previous studies suggest that reproductive hormones may regulate the expression of NGF. Ovariectomies were performed on female mice, and mice were killed 24 h after hormone replacement to evaluate the effects of estrogen and progesterone on NGF in peripheral organs, specifically the uterus, bladder, heart, and salivary gland. Sham-operated intact mice and untreated ovariectomized mice served as controls. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the presence of NGF, estrogen receptor-alpha, estrogen receptor-beta, and progesterone receptors in these organs. Ovariectomy caused a significant decrease in NGF protein content in the uterus, and short term treatment of ovariectomized mice with estrogen and/or progesterone increased uterine NGF mRNA and restored NGF protein to concentrations similar to intact control mice. Ovariectomy did not affect NGF protein concentrations in the salivary gland, but treatment of ovariectomized mice with estrogen alone or in conjunction with progesterone stimulated concentrations of NGF protein that exceeded those observed in intact control or ovariectomized, untreated mice. NGF mRNA was increased in salivary glands from ovariectomized mice treated with progesterone alone or in combination with estrogen relative to other groups. NGF protein content of the hearts of ovariectomized mice treated with estrogen alone or in conjunction with progesterone was increased relative to intact controls and ovariectomized, untreated mice, but neither ovariectomy or hormone replacement affected NGF mRNA content in the heart. NGF protein content of the bladder was unaffected by ovariectomy or hormone treatment, and bladder NGF mRNA was unaffected by ovariectomy or hormone treatment. Collectively, these results indicate that reproductive hormones have the capacity to regulate NGF message and protein in a manner that varies among organs. Fluctuations in the expression of NGF, in conjunction with other factors, may help to explain gender differences in pain sensation and inflammatory response.