Campus Units

Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Veterinary Ophthalmology




Impairment of corneal nerves can result in the development of ocular surface diseases such as aqueous tear deficiency and neurotrophic keratopathy. This study investigates oral nicergoline, an α‐adrenoceptor antagonist shown to enhance endogenous secretion of nerve growth factor (NGF) by the lacrimal gland, as a potential therapy for these conditions. Five female spayed Beagle dogs received a 2‐week course of oral nicergoline (10 mg twice daily). Drug safety was evaluated with ophthalmic and physical examinations, blood pressure monitoring, bloodwork, and urinalysis. The effect of nicergoline on the ocular surface was assessed with corneal esthesiometry, Schirmer tear test‐1, and tear film breakup time. Drug effect on NGF levels was assessed by collecting tears and blood at baseline and completion of therapy using a bead‐based immunoassay and an enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay. Although nicergoline was well tolerated in all dogs, it did not have a significant impact on corneal sensitivity, tear production, or tear stability. Of note, NGF was below the limit of quantification in all tear samples and was only detected in 8/20 serum samples with no significant difference between levels at baseline (189.4 ± 145.1 pg/mL) and completion of therapy (149.4 ± 79.4 pg/mL). Further validation of NGF analytical assays is warranted before nicergoline is investigated in clinical patients.


This is the peer-reviewed version of the following article: Sebbag, Lionel, Leah M. Moody, Rachel A. Allbaugh, and Jonathan P. Mochel. "Nerve growth factor in dogs: Assessment of two immunoassays and selected ocular parameters following a nicergoline challenge per os." Veterinary Ophthalmology (2019), which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/vop.12723. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Copyright Owner

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists



File Format


Available for download on Friday, November 27, 2020

Published Version