The Cerebellum

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 499–506 | Cite as

Increased Concentrations of Nerve Growth Factor and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in the Rat Cerebellum After Exposure to Environmental Enrichment

  • Francesco Angelucci
  • Paola De Bartolo
  • Francesca Gelfo
  • Francesca Foti
  • Debora Cutuli
  • Paola Bossù
  • Carlo Caltagirone
  • Laura Petrosini


The molecular mechanism of environmental enrichment (EE) on brain function and anatomy has been partially attributed to the up-regulation of proteins involved in neuronal survival and activity-dependent plasticity, such as the neurotrophins nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of animal models. Nevertheless, at present, little indication is available on the influence of EE on neurotrophin levels in the cerebellum. Thus, in this study, we exposed male Wistar rats to EE from weaning to 5 months of age and evaluated the production of NGF and BDNF in the cerebellum and compared the neurotrophin changes in this region with those obtained in other brain structures where neurotrophins are produced or transported. We found that in rats exposed to EE from 21st until 140th postnatal day, a significant increase of both BDNF and NGF concentrations was observed in the cerebellum, as compared to rats reared in standard conditions. In addition, cerebellum was the brain region where NGF and BDNF levels were more influenced by EE as compared to the changes observed in other regions. EE also caused a concomitant increase in NGF levels in the striatum while in the same brain region, BDNF levels were reduced. In summary, this study shows that a prolonged exposure to EE is associated with an increase in cerebellar NGF and BDNF production, thus suggesting that the beneficial effects of EE on the cerebellum of adult animals could be mediated, at least in part, by neurotrophins.


Environmental enrichment Neurotrophins Cerebellum Cortex Striatum Hippocampus 

Supplementary material

12311_2009_129_MOESM1_ESM.doc (30 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Angelucci
    • 1
    • 4
  • Paola De Bartolo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francesca Gelfo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Francesca Foti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Debora Cutuli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paola Bossù
    • 1
  • Carlo Caltagirone
    • 1
  • Laura Petrosini
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.IRCCS S. LuciaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Rome “Sapienza”RomeItaly
  3. 3.University of Naples “Parthenope”NaplesItaly
  4. 4.Department of Clinical and Behavioural NeurologyIRCCS Santa Lucia FoundationRomeItaly

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