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Neuropharmacology. 2013 Aug;71:247-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.03.041. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

Acute and chronic interference with BDNF/TrkB-signaling impair LTP selectively at mossy fiber synapses in the CA3 region of mouse hippocampus.

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Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Germany.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling via TrkB crucially regulates synaptic plasticity in the brain. Although BDNF is abundant at hippocampal mossy fiber (MF) synapses, which critically contribute to hippocampus dependent memory, its role in MF synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation, LTP) remained largely unclear. Using field potential recordings in CA3 of adult heterozygous BDNF knockout (ko, BDNF+/-) mice we observed impaired (∼50%) NMDAR-independent MF-LTP. In contrast to MF synapses, LTP at neighboring associative/commissural (A/C) fiber synapses remained unaffected. To exclude that impaired MF-LTP in BDNF+/- mice was due to developmental changes in response to chronically reduced BDNF levels, and to prove the importance of acute availability of BDNF in MF-LTP, we also tested effects of acute interference with BDNF/TrkB signaling. Inhibition of TrkB tyrosine kinase signaling with k252a, or with the selective BDNF scavenger TrkB-Fc, both inhibited MF-LTP to the same extent as observed in BDNF+/- mice. Basal synaptic transmission, short-term plasticity, and synaptic fatigue during LTP induction were not significantly altered by treatment with k252a or TrkB-Fc, or by chronic BDNF reduction in BDNF+/- mice. Since the acute interference with BDNF-signaling did not completely block MF-LTP, our results provide evidence that an additional mechanism besides BDNF induced TrkB signaling contributes to this type of LTP. Our results prove for the first time a mechanistic action of acute BDNF/TrkB signaling in presynaptic expression of MF-LTP in adult hippocampus.

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