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Acta Histochem Cytochem. 2012 Aug 30;45(4):211-8. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Expression and localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein in human submandibular gland.

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  • 1Department of Maxillofacial Diagnostic Science, Division of Pathology, Kanagawa Dental College, 82 Inaoka-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-8580, Japan ; Research Institute of Salivary Gland and Health Medicine, Kanagawa Dental College, 82 Inaoka-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-8580, Japan.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes cell survival and differentiation in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Previously, we reported that BDNF is produced by salivary glands under acute immobilization stress in rats. However, expression of BDNF is poorly understood in humans, although salivary gland localization of BDNF in rodents has been demonstrated. In the present study, we investigated the expression and localization of BDNF in the human submandibular gland (HSG) using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, western blot analysis, in situ hybridization (ISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and ELISA. BDNF was consistently localized in HSG serous and ductal cells, as detected by ISH and IHC, with reactivity being stronger in serous cells. In addition, immunoreactivity for BDNF was observed in the saliva matrix of ductal cavities. Western blotting detected one significant immunoreactive 14 kDa band in the HSG and saliva. Immunoreactivities for salivary BDNF measured by ELISA in humans were 40.76±4.83 pg/mL and 52.64±8.42 pg/mL, in men and women, respectively. Although salivary BDNF concentrations in females tended to be higher than in males, the concentrations were not significantly different. In conclusion, human salivary BDNF may originate from salivary glands, as the HSG appears to produce BDNF.


brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); human; saliva; submandibular gland

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