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J Neurosci. 2000 Sep 15;20(18):7116-21.

Involvement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in spatial memory formation and maintenance in a radial arm maze test in rats.

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Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Hospital Pharmacy, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Showa-ku Nagoya 466-8560, Japan.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates both short-term synaptic functions and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation. In the present study, we investigated the role of BDNF in the spatial reference and working memory in a radial arm maze test. The radial arm maze training resulted in a significant increase in the BDNF mRNA expression in the hippocampus, although the expression in the frontal cortex did not change. When spatial learning was inhibited by treatment with 7-nitroindazole, an inhibitor of brain nitric oxide synthase, the increase in the hippocampal BDNF mRNA did not occur. To clarify the causal relation between BDNF mRNA expression and spatial memory formation, we examined the effects of antisense BDNF treatment on spatial learning and memory. A continuous intracerebroventricular infusion of antisense BDNF oligonucleotide resulted in an impairment of spatial learning, although the sense oligonucleotide had no effect. Treatment with antisense, but not sense, BDNF oligonucleotide was associated with a significant reduction of BDNF mRNA and protein levels in the hippocampus. Furthermore, treatment with antisense BDNF oligonucleotide in rats, which had previously acquired spatial memory by an extensive training, impaired both reference and working memory. There were no differences in locomotor activity, food consumption, and body weight between the antisense and sense oligonucleotide-treated rats. These results suggest that BDNF plays an important role not only in the formation, but also in the retention and/or recall, of spatial memory.

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