Disruption of the CNTF gene results in motor neuron degeneration

Abstract

CNTF is a cytosolic molecule expressed postnatally in myelinating Schwann cells and in a sub-population of astrocytes. Although CNTF administration prevents lesion-mediated and genetically determined motor neuron degeneration, its physiological function remained elusive. Here it is reported that abolition of CNTF gene expression by homologous recombination results in a progressive atrophy and loss of motor neurons in adult mice, which is functionally reflected by a small but significant reduction in muscle strength.

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