The simultaneous administration of nerve growth factor (NGF) has been found to prevent experimental neuropathies induced by anti-cancer drugs such as cisplatin, vincristine and taxol. However, it is clinically important to know whether NGF is beneficial once the neuropathy is already manifest. We established a bioassay system to examine the preventive effects of NGF in various treatment schedules. NGF significantly prevented the inhibition of neurite outgrowth by vincristine and taxol regardless of treatment schedules. The pre-treatment and co-treatment schedules were effective against cisplatin, but the post-treatment schedule was not. With regard to the neurite and nerve cell population densities, only the cisplatin group treated with NGF showed lower values than the control. These results indicate that NGF-treatment is effective for the toxic sympathetic nerve injury induced by vincristine and taxol regardless of the treatment schedule, but is not protective against cisplatin-induced nerve cell injury.
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