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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

BDNF supports mammalian chemoafferent neurons in vitro and following peripheral target removal in vivo.

Chemoreceptor neurons innervating the rat carotid body were used as a model system to define target regulation of visceral sensory development in fetal and newborn animals. In vitro, chemoafferents were selectively supported by coculture with the carotid body or by treatment with trkB ligands [brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-4], whereas nerve growth factor and neurotrophin 3 had no effect. In vivo, chemoafferent neurons died following carotid body removal at birth, indicating a predominant role of peripheral, rather than central, targets in mediating survival at this stage. However, in the absence of target tissues, a large proportion of carotid body afferents could be rescued by implants containing BDNF. Moreover, BDNF mRNA was detected in the newborn carotid body by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. These data provide the first demonstration that BDNF can substitute for peripheral target support of sensory neuron survival in vivo and indicate that trkB ligands may be particularly important for development of visceral afferents involved in cardiorespiratory control.[1]


  1. BDNF supports mammalian chemoafferent neurons in vitro and following peripheral target removal in vivo. Hertzberg, T., Fan, G., Finley, J.C., Erickson, J.T., Katz, D.M. Dev. Biol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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