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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2002 Apr;19(4):485-500.

Anterograde transport and trophic actions of BDNF and NT-4/5 in the developing rat visual system.

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  • 1School of Anatomy and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Australia.


During development the viability of immature neurons may depend upon retrograde, anterograde, or paracrine trophic support. Using (125)I-labeled peptides we show that there is substantial and rapid anterograde transport of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and, to a lesser extent, neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4/5) to central visual target areas in the neonatal rat brain. Six hours after unilateral intraocular injection, all retinorecipient regions in the thalamus and midbrain are heavily labeled. Intraocular application of physiologically relevant doses of neurotrophin has a marked effect on cells in the developing superior colliculus (SC): 24 h postinjection of BDNF or NT-4/5, the number of pyknotic profiles in the contralateral superficial SC significantly decreases, while total cell numbers increase relative to ipsilateral SC. This increase is primarily associated with neurons. The data support the hypothesis that BDNF and NT-4/5 are anterograde survival factors for postsynaptic cells in the developing rat SC.

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