Requirement for BDNF in activity-dependent survival of cortical neurons

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Science  18 Mar 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5153, pp. 1618-1623
DOI: 10.1126/science.7907431


Cultured embryonic cortical neurons from rats were used to explore mechanisms of activity-dependent neuronal survival. Cell survival was increased by the activation of voltage-sensitive calcium channels (VSCCs) but not by activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. These effects correlated with the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) induced by these two classes of calcium channels. Antibodies to BDNF (which block intracellular signaling by BDNF, but not by nerve growth factor, NT3, or NT4/5) reduced the survival of cortical neurons and reversed the VSCC-mediated increase in survival. Thus, endogenous BDNF is a trophic factor for cortical neurons whose expression is VSCC-regulated and that functions in the VSCC-dependent survival of these neurons.

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