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J Mol Neurosci. 1995;6(4):237-48.

Neurotrophins and their trk receptors in cultured cells of the glial lineage and in white matter of the central nervous system.

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Institute of Biochemistry, University of Catania, Italy.


Previous studies have analyzed the expression of different members of the neurotrophin family and their trk receptors in glial cultures composed mainly or exclusively of type-1 astrocytes, whereas only partial data have been published on other cultured glial types. In this article we compare the mRNA levels for neurotrophins (NGF, BDNF, NT-3, NT-4) and their high-affinity receptors (trkA, trkB, trkC) in cultures enriched in specific glial types, such as microglia, type-1 astroglia, and cells of the O/2A lineage (type-2 astroglia and oligodendroglia). Relatively high levels of NGF mRNA (comparable to those observed in adult rat cerebral cortex) are present in all types of cultured glial cells, except for a low level of expression in cultures enriched in microglial cells. In contrast, BDNF mRNA is undetectable in all cultures examined. NT-3 and NT-4 mRNA molecules, at a level equal to that observed in adult rat cerebral cortex, are easily detected in type-1 astrocyte cultures, whereas their hybridization signals are undetectable in cells of the O/2A lineage and in microglial cultures. The analysis of neurotrophin receptor mRNAs confirms the absence of trkA mRNA, the presence of relatively high levels of trkB mRNA (70-100% of cerebral cortex values), and low levels of trkC mRNA (10-18% of cerebral cortex values) in both cultured astroglial and oligodendroglial cells. Only very low levels of trkB and trkC mRNAs are observed in microglial cultures. Although cultured glial cells express mainly mRNAs encoding for the truncated form of trkB and trkC, a low level of mRNA encoding for the full-length catalytic form of these receptors is detected by the sensitive ribonuclease protection assay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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