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BDNF and TrkB Mediated Mechanisms in the Spinal Cord

  • Rita Bardoni
  • Adalberto Merighi
Chapter

Abstract

The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an essential role during development, promoting the survival of specific populations of central and peripheral neurons. During adulthood, BDNF also acts as a synaptic modulator in several areas of the central nervous system (CNS), including the spinal cord, and is involved in short and long term changes of synaptic efficacy. In spinal cord dorsal horn BDNF is expressed in the peptidergic terminals originating from primary afferent fibres, while its high affinity receptor trkB has been detected on both primary afferent terminals and dorsal horn neurons. In superficial dorsal horn, exogenous BDNF modulates fast excitatory (glutamatergic) and inhibitory (GABAergic/glycinergic) signals, as well as slow peptidergic neurotransmission. Conditions of inflammatory and neuropathic pain alter the expression of BDNF and trkB receptors in dorsal horn. In experimental pain models, modulation of synaptic transmission by BDNF plays an important role in the induction and maintenance of central sensitization.

Keywords

Nerve Growth Factor Dorsal Horn Peripheral Nerve Injury Chronic Constriction Injury Intrathecal Administration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

AMPA

α-amino-methyl-isoxazole-propionic acid

BDNF

brain derived neurotrophic factor

CCI

chronic constriction injury

CFA

complete Freund’s adjuvant

CGRP

calcitonin gene-related peptide

CNS

central nervous system

CREB

cyclic AMP response element binding protein

DCV

dense core vesicle

DRG

dorsal root ganglion

EPSCs

excitatory post-synaptic currents

ERK

extracellular signal-regulated kinase

fl-trkB

full-length trkB receptor

GABA

γ-amino butyric acid

KCC2

potassium-chloride co-transporter 2

MAPK

mitogen-activated protein kinase

MEK

MAPK/ERK kinase

NGF

nerve growth factor

NMDA

N-methyl-D-aspartate

NT

neurotrophin

p75NTR

common neurotrophin low affinity receptor

PAF

primary afferent fibre

PKC

protein kinase C

PLC

phospholipase C

PNS

peripheral nervous system

PSD

post-synaptic density

SST

spinothalamic tract

TNF-α

tumour necrosis factor α

trkA

tropomyosine receptor kinase A

trkB

tropomyosine receptor kinase B

trkC

tropomyosine receptor kinase C

tr-trkB

truncated trkB receptor

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work described in this paper has been funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (Fondi PRIN), Compagnia di San Paolo, Torino, and Fondazione CRT, Torino. We are greatly indebted to Dr. Chiara Salio for her kind gift of unpublished electron micrographs, and to Mr. Gianfranco Zanutto for his excellent graphic artwork.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary MorphophysiologyUniversity of Turin, Istituto Nazionale di NeuroscienzeItaly

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