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

GDNF induces the calretinin phenotype in cultures of embryonic striatal neurons.

Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily, is a potent neurotrophic factor for several neuron populations in the central and peripheral nervous system. Members of the neurotrophin, neurokine, and TGF-beta families of growth factors can affect neurons beyond their capacity to promote survival. They can play instructive roles including the determination of a particular transmitter phenotype. Here, we show that GDNF enhances the number of calretinin (CaR)-positive neurons in serum-free cultures of striatal cells isolated from embryonic rats. The effect is dose-dependent, can be elicited with concentrations as low as 0.1 ng/ml, and is not accompanied by increased incorporation of 5-bromo-2'-desoxyuridine and appearance of glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cells. Similar, but weaker effects can be elicited by brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 and -4, fibroblast growth factor-2. Ciliary neurotrophic factor, nerve growth factor, and TGF-beta 1 do not affect striatal CaR expression. GDNF can augment CaR-positive cells at any time point and with a minimal exposure of 18 hr, suggesting induction of the phenotype rather than increased survival. By reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we show that GDNF is expressed in the E16 striatum and in cultures derived from this tissue. GDNF also protected striatal CaR-positive neurons against glutamate toxicity. We conclude that striatal GDNF, in addition to its retrograde trophic role for nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, may also act locally within the striatum (e.g., by inducing the CaR phenotype and protecting these cells against toxic insult).[1]


  1. GDNF induces the calretinin phenotype in cultures of embryonic striatal neurons. Farkas, L.M., Suter-Crazzolara, C., Unsicker, K. J. Neurosci. Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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