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Neuropharmacology. 2002 Jun;42(7):903-12.

Neurotrophins induce BDNF expression through the glutamate receptor pathway in neocortical neurons.

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  • 1Immunobiology Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Neurotrophins jointly exert various functions in the nervous system, including neuronal differentiation, survival, and regulation of synaptic plasticity. However, the functional interactions of neurotrophins or mechanisms through which neurotrophins regulate each other are still not clear. In the present study, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression is induced by neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4/5) and by BDNF itself in neocortical neurons. K252a, a specific tyrosine kinase (Trk) inhibitor, completely suppresses BDNF- and NT-4/5-enhanced BDNF mRNA expression. NT-4/5 significantly augments BDNF protein production, which is also reversed by K252a. When neurons are incubated with neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) or nerve growth factor (NGF), there are no significant changes in BDNF mRNA or protein expression. Interestingly, the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptor blocker 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) or the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blocker AP-5 completely suppresses NT-4/5-enhanced BDNF protein production, while tetrodotoxin (TTX) only suppresses NT-4/5-enhanced BDNF production by 50%. Additionally, the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibitor PD98059 enhances BDNF-induced glutamate receptor-1 (GluR1) protein expression, but a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 strongly reduces BDNF-induced GluR1 protein expression. Taken together, glutamate receptors are important for the regulation of BDNF expression by neurotrophins, and MAP and PI3K kinases differentially modulate AMPA receptor expression in the cortical neurons.

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