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Neuron. 1998 Aug;21(2):305-15.

BDNF regulates reelin expression and Cajal-Retzius cell development in the cerebral cortex.

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Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells of the cerebral cortex express receptors for the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and downregulate expression of the extracellular matrix protein Reelin during early postnatal development, coincident with the onset of cortical BDNF expression. During this period, mice lacking BDNF have elevated levels of Reelin in CR cells. Acute BDNF stimulation of cortical neuron cultures and overexpression of BDNF in the developing brain of transgenic mice prior to the onset of endogenous production causes a profound, dose-dependent reduction of Reelin expression in CR cells. In addition, overexpression of BDNF produces gaps and heterotopias in the marginal zone and disorganization and aggregation of cortical CR cells and induces several other malformations, including aberrant cortical lamination, similar to the phenotype of reeler mutant mice, which lack Reelin. These results demonstrate a role for BDNF on cortical CR cells and identify Reelin as a direct effector of this neurotrophin during brain development.

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