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Neuron. 1997 Feb;18(2):257-67.

Synaptic innervation density is regulated by neuron-derived BDNF.

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Center for Neuronal Survival, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada.


In this report, we have examined the role of neuron-derived BDNF at an accessible synapse, that of preganglionic neurons onto their sympathetic neuron targets. Developing and mature sympathetic neurons synthesize BDNF, and preganglionic neurons express the full-length BDNF/TrkB receptor. When sympathetic neuron-derived BDNF is increased 2- to 4-fold in transgenic mice, preganglionic cell bodies and axons hypertrophy, and the synaptic innervation to sympathetic neurons is increased. Conversely, when BDNF synthesis is eliminated in BDNF -/- mice, preganglionic synaptic innervation to sympathetic neurons is decreased. Together these results indicate that variations in neuronal neurotrophin synthesis directly regulate neuronal circuitry by selectively modulating synaptic innervation density.

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