Extracts of skeletal muscle increase neurite outgrowth and cholinergic activity of fetal rat spinal motor neurons
A soluble extract of rat skeletal muscle increased neurite outgrowth and cholinergic activity of dissociated ventral spinal neurons in culture. The effects were concentration-dependent, saturable, and labile in the presence of heat or trypsin. The morphological enhancement was produced only by skeletal muscle extract and decreased with developmental age, whereas the cholinergic enhancement was produced by extracts of cerebral cortex and cardiac and skeletal muscle and did not change with age. These changes were specific for ventral cord neurons, but no species specificity was observed with respect to the muscle source or the neuronal target.