To investigate how the onset of neurotrophic factor dependence in neurons is coordinated with the arrival of their axons in the target field, we have studied the survival of four populations of cranial sensory neurons whose axons reach their common central target field, the hindbrain, at different times. We show that neurons whose axons reach the hindbrain first survive for a short time in culture before responding to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Neurons whose axons reach the hindbrain later survive longer before responding to BDNF. These differences in survival, which arise prior to gangliogenesis, may play a role in coordinating trophic interactions for cranial sensory neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas