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J Neuroimmunol. 2002 Mar;124(1-2):62-9.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in experimental autoimmune neuritis.

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Department of Neuroimmunology and the Neuroinflammation Research Group, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London SE1 1UL, UK.


Long-term disability in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is associated with axonal, and some neuronal, degeneration. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) can prevent neuronal death following damage to motor axons and we have therefore examined the ability of BDNF to ameliorate the effects of experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN), a model of GBS. Treatment of Lewis rats with BDNF (10 mg/kg/day) did not significantly affect the neurological deficit, nor significantly improve survival, motor function or motor innervation. The weight of the urinary bladder was significantly increased in control animals with EAN, but remained similar to normal in animals treated with BDNF. With the exception of a possibly protective effect indicated by bladder weight, this study suggests that BDNF may not provide an effective therapy for GBS, at least in the acute phase of the disease.

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