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Eur J Biochem. 1994 Aug 1;223(3):733-41.

Expression of mRNA encoding neurotrophins and neurotrophin receptors in rat thymus, spleen tissue and immunocompetent cells. Regulation of neurotrophin-4 mRNA expression by mitogens and leukotriene B4.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The expression of neurotrophin and neurotrophin receptor mRNAs was examined using RNase protection assays and Northern-blot analysis in rat thymus, spleen tissue and immunocompetent mononuclear cells purified from these two organs. Nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 and neurotrophin-4 mRNAs were all expressed in thymus and spleen tissue although at different levels, while immunocompetent cells expressed neurotrophin-3 and neurotrophin-4 mRNAs. Thymus and spleen tissue expressed mRNAs encoding the low-affinity nerve-growth-factor receptor, the non-neuronal TrkA I receptor, the truncated (kinase deficient) and full-length TrkB, and the TrkC receptor. Low-affinity nerve-growth-factor receptor and non-neuronal TrkA I mRNAs were detected in both thymus and spleen immunocompetent cells. In addition, thymus cells expressed neuronal TrkA II mRNA and spleen cells expressed truncated TrkB mRNA. The expression of TrkA I and TrkA II mRNAs was enhanced in both thymus and spleen cells after cell culture. Enhanced levels of neurotrophin-4 mRNA were observed in spleen immunocompetent cells after adrenalectomy. Moreover, the expression of neurotrophin-4 mRNA was up-regulated after stimulation of immune cells with the mitogens concanavalin A or lipopolysaccharide or with the inflammatory mediator leukotriene B4. This suggests that neurotrophin-4 could be secreted by immunocompetent cells and may be involved in inflammatory processes.

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