, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 101-108
Date: 31 Mar 2012

Exercise-dependent regulation of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) expression in skeletal muscle and its importance for the neuromuscular system

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The focus of this review is to highlight the importance of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) for the motor nervous system. GDNF is the most potent survival factor for motor neurons, where it enhances maintenance and survival of both developing and mature motor neurons in vivo and in vitro. GDNF aids in neuromuscular junction formation, maintenance, and plasticity, where skeletal muscle-derived GDNF may be responsible for this phenomenon. Increased levels of physical activity can increase GDNF protein levels in skeletal muscle, where alterations in acetylcholine and acetylcholine receptor activation may be involved in regulation of these changes observed. With inactivity and disuse, GDNF expression shows different patterns of regulation in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Due to its potent effects for motor neurons, GDNF is being extensively studied in neuromuscular diseases.