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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 29;93(22):12547-52.

Virus-mediated gene transfer into hippocampal CA1 region restores long-term potentiation in brain-derived neurotrophic factor mutant mice.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie, München-Martinsried, Germany.


Long-term potentiation (LTP) has been shown to be impaired in mice deficient in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, as well as in a number of other knockout animals. Despite its power the gene-targeting approach is always fraught with the danger of looking at the cumulative direct and indirect effects of the absence of a particular gene rather than its immediate function. The re-expression of a specific gene at a selective time point and at a specific site in gene-defective mutants presents a potent procedure to overcome this limitation and to evaluate the causal relationship between the absence of a particular gene and the impairment of a function in gene-defective animals. Here we demonstrate that the re-expression of the BDNF gene in the CA1 region almost completely restores the severely impaired LTP in hippocampal slices of BDNF-deficient mice. The results therefore provide strong evidence for the direct involvement of BDNF in the process of LTP.

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