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Stroke. 2007 Jul;38(7):2165-72. Epub 2007 May 17.

Intravenous brain-derived neurotrophic factor enhances poststroke sensorimotor recovery and stimulates neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Germany.



The discovery of spontaneous neuronal replacement in the adult brain has shifted experimental stroke therapies toward a combined approach of preventing neuronal cell death and inducing neuronal plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was shown to induce antiapoptotic mechanisms after stroke and to reduce infarct size and secondary neuronal cell death. Moreover, in intact animals, BDNF is a potent stimulator of adult neurogenesis.


The current study analyzed the effects of BDNF on induction of neuronal progenitor cell migration and sensorimotor recovery after cortical photothrombotic stroke.


Daily intravenous bolus applications of BDNF during the first 5 days after stroke resulted in significantly improved sensorimotor scores up to 6 weeks. At the structural level, BDNF significantly increased neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and enhanced migration of subventricular zone progenitor cells to the nearby striatum of the ischemic hemisphere. BDNF treatment could not, however, further stimulate progenitor cell recruitment to the cortex.


These findings consolidate the role of BDNF as a modulator of neurogenesis in the brain and as an enhancer of long-term functional neurological outcome after cerebral ischemia.

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