Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): From maternal deprivation to manic depressive illness

These results are presented in two articles (accompanied by an editorial) appearing in the forthcoming issue of Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing Group):

ARTICLE (1): "Early maternal deprivation reduces the expression of BDNF and NMDA receptor subunits in rat hippocampus"

AUTHORS: M Roceri, W Hendricks, G Racagni, BA Ellenbroek and MA Riva

Center for Neuropharmacology, Department Pharmacological Sciences and Center of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Disorders, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; Department of Psychoneuropharmacology, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands: I.R.C.C.S. San Giovanni di Dio-Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy

Over the last years, several lines of investigation have suggested that adverse life events during neuronal maturation can be critical for brain development thus producing persistent changes in its function and increasing the vulnerability to psychiatric disorders. Such vulnerability is related to the coping ability under challenging situation, such as stress, which represent and important precipitating factor in psychiatric diseases. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a trophic protein that plays an important role in regulating neuronal function and plasticity. In a study conducted on rats, the authors have used maternal deprivation (MD) on postnatal day 9, an experimental paradigm that recapitulates many features of schizophrenia, in order to investigate long-term effects of early adverse life situation on brain function. They found that, as adult, MD animals show reduced expression of BDNF and glutamate NMDA receptor subunits, which are important players in cellular plasticity. These changes occur specifically in the hippocampus, a region important for cognition, and are only observed in adult animals.

The study, published in the August issue of Molecular Psychiatry, provides evidence for the presence of anatomically-defined molecular changes in the bra

Contact: Frank Sissingh
Molecular Psychiatry

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