Date of Defense

Summer 6-22-2000


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Joesph Reish, Lee Honors College

Second Advisor

John Spitsbergen, Biology

Third Advisor

Christine Byrd, Biology


Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) are widely studied neurotrophic factors that affect sensory and sympathetic neurons. This appears to be evident according to their role in hypertension and other chronic diseases. Vascular smooth muscle, which is innervated by sensory and sympathetic neurons, appears to be a source for GDNF and NGF. Nerotransmitters seem either to stimulate or to inhibit the availability of neurotrophic factors for sympathetic and sensory neurons. In this study, smooth muscle cells were grown in culture medium from hypertensive (SS1), and normotensive (SR1 & A-10) tissue. Smooth muscle cells were treated with sensory and sympathetic neurotransmitters at different timepoints. Neurotrophic factor content was measured using an Enzyme Linked Immunoassay (ELISA) specific for GDNF and NGF. The results indicated vascular smooth muscle as being a source for GDNF and NGF. Neurotransmitters seemed to activate GDNF secretion differently from NGF secretion. GDNF and NGF secretion also appeared to differ among cell-lines. Understanding neurotransmitter involvement in the regulation of GDNF and NGF secretion will benefit future research in hypertension and other diseases.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only