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Biochemistry (Mosc). 2017 Mar;82(3):308-317. doi: 10.1134/S0006297917030099.

Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF and GDNF) and the Serotonergic System of the Brain.

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Federal Research Center Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia.


Neurotrophic factors play a key role in development, differentiation, synaptogenesis, and survival of neurons in the brain as well as in the process of their adaptation to external influences. The serotonergic (5-HT) system is another major factor in the development and neuroplasticity of the brain. In the present review, the results of our own research as well as data provided in the corresponding literature on the interaction of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) with the 5-HT-system of the brain are considered. Attention is given to comparison of BDNF and GDNF, the latter belonging to a different family of neurotrophic factors and being mainly considered as a dopaminergic system controller. Data cited in this review show that: (i) BDNF and GDNF interact with the 5-HT-system of the brain through feedback mechanisms engaged in autoregulation of the complex involving 5-HT-system and neurotrophic factors; (ii) GDNF, as well as BDNF, stimulates the growth of 5-HT neurons and affects the expression of key genes of the brain 5-HT-system - those coding tryptophan hydroxylase-2 and 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors. In turn, 5-HT affects the expression of genes that control BDNF and GDNF in brain structures; (iii) the difference between BDNF and GDNF is manifested in different levels and relative distribution of expression of these factors in brain structures (BDNF expression is highest in hippocampus and cortex, GDNF expression in the striatum), in varying reaction of 5-HT2A receptors on BDNF and GDNF administration, and in different effects on certain types of behavior.

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