Neurotrophic factor mRNA expression in dentate gyrus is increased following in vivo stimulation of the angular bundle

Joe E. Springer, Byoung J. Gwag, Francis M. Sessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are two structurally-related neurotrophins synthesized in dentate gyrus granule cells and pyramidal neurons of the hippocampal formation. These neurons receive excitatory glutamatergic afferents from the entorhinal cortex via the angular bundle/perforant path. In the present study, we tested whether electrophysiological stimulation of this glutamatergic pathway modifies NGF or BDNF messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in vivo. Within hours following brief trains of high frequency angular bundle stimulation, the levels of mRNA encoding both neurotrophins were increased exclusively in granule cells of the ipsilateral dentate gyrus. The increase in neurotrophic factor mRNA expression was found to be mediated through the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor subtype, and occurred in the absence of seizure. These findings provide evidence that neurotrophic factor mRNA levels in the hippocampal formation are increased by direct activation of excitatory afferents originating in the entorhinal cortex. We suggest that the function of some neurotrophin-responsive neuronal populations may depend upon the integrity and activity of neurons in the entorhinal cortex, a population of neurons reported to be compromised in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Neurotrophin
  • Perforant path
  • mRNA expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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