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Neuron. 1990 Apr;4(4):603-14.

Differential expression of immediate early genes in the hippocampus and spinal cord.

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Molecular Neurobiology Unit, MRC Centre, Cambridge, England.


We have demonstrated that immediate early genes can be differentially activated within the central nervous system. We examined the effects of tetanic stimulation in the hippocampus and of noxious sensory stimulation of the spinal cord on the expression of eight immediate early genes. Induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus resulted in an increase in mRNA and protein for NGFI-A (also termed Zif/268, Egr-1, or Krox 24), and less consistently for jun-B mRNA. No increase was seen for c-fos, NGFI-B, c-jun, jun-D, SRF, or PC4 mRNAs. Blockade of the NMDA receptor prevented the induction of both LTP and NGFI-A mRNA in the dentate gyrus. However, commissural stimulation, which prevented the induction of LTP, resulted in bilateral activation of all the genes examined, including NGFI-A. No change was seen in animals trained in a water maze. These results suggest that no simple relationship exists between LTP, spatial learning, and immediate early gene induction. Stimulation of sensory fibers resulted in an increase in mRNA for NGFI-A, c-fos, SRF, NGFI-B, and c-jun in spinal cord neurons. Blockade of the NMDA receptor had no effect on immediate early gene induction in the spinal cord.

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