Postsynaptic Induction of BDNF-Mediated Long-Term Potentiation

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Science  01 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5560, pp. 1729-1734
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067766

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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other neurotrophins are critically involved in long-term potentiation (LTP). Previous reports point to a presynaptic site of neurotrophin action. By imaging dentate granule cells in mouse hippocampal slices, we identified BDNF-evoked Ca2+ transients in dendrites and spines, but not at presynaptic sites. Pairing a weak burst of synaptic stimulation with a brief dendritic BDNF application caused an immediate and robust induction of LTP. LTP induction required activation of postsynaptic Ca2+ channels andN-methyl-d-aspartate receptors and was prevented by the blockage of postsynaptic Ca2+ transients. Thus, our results suggest that BDNF-mediated LTP is induced postsynaptically. Our finding that dendritic spines are the exclusive synaptic sites for rapid BDNF-evoked Ca2+ signaling supports this conclusion.

  • * Present address: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Göteborg University, 40530 Göteborg, Sweden.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: konnerth{at}

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