Perioperative nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with acoustic neurinoma (14 cases), tentorial meningioma (1 case), or subarachnoid hemorrhage (1 case) were examined. Preoperative NGF levels in CSF were below the level of detection in all patients. However, NGF was found to accumulate transiently in CSF following neurosurgery. Pre and postoperative CSF obtained from a patient with acoustic neurinoma enhanced the proliferation of astrocytes in neuronal cell cultures derived from embryonic rat cortex grown in serum-free defined medium, and increased choline acetyltransferase activity of cholinergic neurons derived from embryonic rat septal area and brainstem. The effect of postoperative CSF on septal and brainstem neurons was more potent than that of preoperative CSF. These results indicate that NGF and non-NGF-type neurotrophic activities accumulate in the CSF following neurosurgery. These neurotrophic activities are probably important in the regeneration of damaged neural networks in the central nervous system.
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