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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor inhibits apoptosis and dopamine-induced free radical production in striatal neurons but does not prevent cell death

Petersén Å, Larsen KE, Behr GG, Romero N, Przedborski S, Brundin P, and Sulzer D.

Section for Neuronal Survival, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Brain Research Bulletin 56(3-4): 331-335 (2001)


In hereditary Huntington's disease, a triplet repeat disease, there is extensive loss of striatal neurons. It has been shown that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protects striatal neurons against a variety of insults. We confirmed that BDNF enhances survival and DARPP-32 expression in primary striatal cultures derived from postnatal mice. Furthermore, BDNF inhibited intracellular oxyradical stress triggered by dopamine, and partially blocked basal and dopamine-induced apoptosis. Nevertheless, BDNF failed to rescue striatal neurons from dopamine-induced cell death. Therefore, BDNF inhibits free radical and apoptotic pathways in medium spiny neurons, but does so downstream from the point of commitment to cell death.