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J Neurosci. 2009 Apr 1;29(13):4016-22. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3811-08.2009.

BDNF exerts contrasting effects on peripheral myelination of NGF-dependent and BDNF-dependent DRG neurons.

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  • 1Neurotrophin Signaling Laboratory, Centre for Neuroscience, Florey Neuroscience Institutes, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


Although brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been shown to promote peripheral myelination during development and remyelination after injury, the precise mechanisms mediating this effect remain unknown. Here, we determine that BDNF promotes myelination of nerve growth factor-dependent neurons, an effect dependent on neuronal expression of the p75 neurotrophin receptor, whereas BDNF inhibits myelination of BDNF-dependent neurons via the full-length TrkB receptor. Thus, BDNF exerts contrasting effects on Schwann cell myelination, depending on the complement of BDNF receptors that are expressed by different subpopulations of dorsal root ganglion neurons. These results demonstrate that BDNF exerts contrasting modulatory roles in peripheral nervous system myelination, and that its mechanism of action is acutely regulated and specifically targeted to neurons.

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