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J Comp Neurol. 1997 Feb 3;378(1):135-57.

Immunocytochemical localization of TrkB in the central nervous system of the adult rat.

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Department of Neurobiology, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, California 91320, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Comp Neurol 1997 Jun 16;382(4):546-7.


The TrkB family of transmembrane proteins serve as receptors for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin (NT)-4/5, and possibly NT-3, three members of the neurotrophin family of neurotrophic factors. In order to understand the potential roles played by these receptors, we have examined the distribution of the TrkB receptor proteins in the adult rat brain by using immunohistochemistry. Several different antisera, directed against either synthetic peptides corresponding to different regions of TrkB or a recombinant fusion protein comprising part of the extracellular domain, were generated. Each of these antisera was directed to epitopes found on all known TrkB isoforms (both the tyrosine kinase-possessing isoform and the truncated kinase-lacking isoforms). In addition, a commercially available antibody to the intracellular domain of TrkB was also used. Widespread and distinct staining was observed on the surface of neuronal cell bodies, axons, and dendrites in many structures, including the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, dentate gyrus, striatum, septal nuclei, substantia nigra, cerebellar Purkinje cells, brainstem and spinal motor neurons, and brainstem sensory nuclei. Staining was also observed in the pia matter, on a subpopulation of ependymal cells lining the cerebral ventricle wall, and other nonneuronal cells. The expression pattern of TrkB receptor protein suggests that TrkB plays a broad role in the central nervous system. In addition, the detection of TrkB immunoreactivity on cell bodies and dendrites is consistent with recent models suggesting that neurotrophins may be derived from presynaptic and/or autocrine sources in addition to the classical postsynaptic target.

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