Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

William S. Woolcoot

Second Advisor

Francis B. Leftwich


A factor which specifically stimulates the growth of sensory and sympathetic nerve cells has been under investigation for a number of years. This factor, originally isolated in 1951, from mouse sarcomas 37 and 180, was named the "nerve growth factor". Its action was first shown in vivo by inoculating the sarcoma into chick embryos and subsequently in vitro by culturing chick ganglia and mouse sarcoma together. In the years immediately following the initial discovery, much more potent sources of NGF were found in the salivary glands and salivary secretions of a variety of species. These include rattle snake venom, and the saliva and salivary glands of the mouse. It was not until a partially purified fraction of NGF from the mouse submaxillary gland was injected into newborn mice that non-neural effects were observed. Among the non-neural changes noted was a failure of hair to grow although the purified NGF did not produce this effect. Cohen showed that the non-neural effects were due to an epidermal growth factor, later renamed "epithelial growth factor" by Jones, which was different from the NGF though present in the same starting material. It was the purpose of this research to qualitatively explore the effects of purified NGF on the integument and specifically on pigmentation by melanocytes in mice of the PET strain.

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