Proliferating cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of adult rat brain could provide a source of cells for repair attempts during degenerative diseases. However, very few reports dealt with the spontaneous regulation of this cell population during experimental conditions. In this paper, we describe an increase in the proliferation activity in the SVZ during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, a demyelinating disease widely used as an experimental model for human multiple sclerosis. Moreover, p75LNGFR-immunoreactive elements in the SVZ were larger in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis compared with control groups, and they also showed multiple and branched elongations. Finally, a selective uptake of 125I-nerve growth factor was observed in the SVZ in neonatal rats, and positive elements migrated in the corpus callosum within a few days. These data indicate that cell populations in the SVZ are regulated during inflammatory conditions and degenerative diseases involving oligodendrocytes and neurotrophins, including nerve growth factor, could participate in these phenomena.