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EMBO J. 1990 Aug;9(8):2459-64.

Regional distribution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA in the adult mouse brain.

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  • 1Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Department of Neurochemistry, Martinsried, FRG.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that allows the survival of specific neuronal populations. This study reports on the distribution of the BDNF mRNA in the adult mouse brain, where the BDNF gene is strongly expressed, using quantitative Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization. All brain regions examined were found to contain substantial amounts of BDNF mRNA, the highest levels being found in the hippocampus followed by the cerebral cortex. In the hippocampus, which is also the site of highest nerve growth factor (NGF) gene expression in the central nervous system (CNS), there is approximately 50-fold more BDNF mRNA than NGF mRNA. In other brain regions, such as the granule cell layer of the cerebellum, the differences between the levels of BDNF and NGF mRNAs are even more pronounced. The BDNF mRNA was localized by in situ hybridization in hippocampal neurons (pyramidal and granule cells). These data suggest that BDNF may play an important role in the CNS for a wide variety of adult neurons.

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