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Brain Res. 1999 Jul 24;835(2):259-65.

Deprivation of endogenous brain-derived neurotrophic factor results in impairment of spatial learning and memory in adult rats.

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Department of Neurology, Nanfang Hospital, First Military Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, China.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is abundantly expressed in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex and is involved in synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation (LTP). The present study was under taken to investigate whether endogenous BDNF was required for spatial learning and memory in a rat model. Antibodies to BDNF (anti-BDNF, n=7) or control immunoglobulin G (control, n=6) were delivered into the rat brain continuously for 7 days with an osmotic pump. The rats were then subjected to a battery of behavioral tests. The results show that the average escape latencies in the BDNF antibody treated group were dramatically longer than those of the control (F=13.3, p<0.001). The rats treated with control IgG swam for a significantly longer distance in the P quadrant (where the escape plane had been placed) compared with the other three quadrants (p<0.05). In contrast, anti-BDNF-treated rats swam an equivalent distance in all four quadrants. The average percentage of swimming distance in the P quadrant by anti-BDNF-treated rats was much less than that by control IgG treated rats (p<0.001). These results suggest that endogenous BDNF is required for spatial learning and memory in adult rats.

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