The effect of neonatal treatment of rats with nerve growth factor on the blood pressure and structure of the mesenteric arteries
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Newborn male Wistar rats were treated with nerve growth factor daily by subcutaneous injection for 2 weeks, and control rats were treated with either cytochrome c or buffered saline. Average body weight of the treated animals was lower than that of the controls during the 2 weeks of treatment, but became similar to that of the controls thereafter. Tissue levels of norepinephrine were elevated in the brain, adrenal glands, mesenteric arteries, and vas deferens of the treated animals immediately after the treatment, but became similar in the three groups 2 weeks after the termination of the treatment. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured beginning at 4 weeks of age until 28 weeks, when the rats were sacrificed and the mesenteric arteries sampled for morphometric measurements of vessel wall dimensions. Pretreatment with nerve growth factor did not affect blood pressure, nor heart rate. Structural alteration of the three types of mesenteric arteries was also absent in the treated animals. We conclude that even though neonatal treatment of normal Wistar rats with nerve growth factor for 2 weeks induced an elevation of the norepinephrine levels in several tissues at the end of the treatment period, it was not sufficient to produce hypertension and structural alterations in the blood vessels.
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