GDNF: a glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor for midbrain dopaminergic neurons

Science  21 May 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5111, pp. 1130-1132
DOI: 10.1126/science.8493557


A potent neurotrophic factor that enhances survival of midbrain dopaminergic neurons was purified and cloned. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a glycosylated, disulfide-bonded homodimer that is a distantly related member of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. In embryonic midbrain cultures, recombinant human GDNF promoted the survival and morphological differentiation of dopaminergic neurons and increased their high-affinity dopamine uptake. These effects were relatively specific; GDNF did not increase total neuron or astrocyte numbers nor did it increase transmitter uptake by gamma-aminobutyric-containing and serotonergic neurons. GDNF may have utility in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which is marked by progressive degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons.

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