Neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) can support the survival of some embryonic sympathetic neuroblasts before they become nerve growth factor dependent. We show that NT-3 is produced in vivo by nonneuronal cells neighboring embryonic sympathetic ganglia. NT-3 mRNA is produced by these nonneuronal cells in vitro and is up-regulated by platelet-derived growth factor, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and glial growth factor 2 (a neuregulin). Nonneuronal cell-conditioned medium promotes survival and induces TrkA expression in isolated sympathetic neuroblasts, and this activity is blocked by anti-NT-3 antibody. Neuroblasts also enhance NT-3 production by nonneural cells. Neuroblasts synthesize several forms of neuregulin, and antibodies to neuregulin attenuate the effect of the neuroblasts on the nonneuronal cells. These data suggest a reciprocal cell-cell interaction, in which neuroblast-derived neuregulins promote NT-3 production by neighboring nonneuronal cells, which in turn promotes neuroblast survival and further differentiation.