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Science 295 (5560): 1729-1734

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Postsynaptic Induction of BDNF-Mediated Long-Term Potentiation

Yury Kovalchuk, Eric Hanse,* Karl W. Kafitz, Arthur Konnerthdagger

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other neurotrophins are critically involved in long-term potentiation (LTP). Previous reports point to a presynaptic site of neurotrophin action. By imaging dentate granule cells in mouse hippocampal slices, we identified BDNF-evoked Ca2+ transients in dendrites and spines, but not at presynaptic sites. Pairing a weak burst of synaptic stimulation with a brief dendritic BDNF application caused an immediate and robust induction of LTP. LTP induction required activation of postsynaptic Ca2+ channels and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and was prevented by the blockage of postsynaptic Ca2+ transients. Thus, our results suggest that BDNF-mediated LTP is induced postsynaptically. Our finding that dendritic spines are the exclusive synaptic sites for rapid BDNF-evoked Ca2+ signaling supports this conclusion.

Institut für Physiologie, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, 80336 München, Germany.
*   Present address: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Göteborg University, 40530 Göteborg, Sweden.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: konnerth{at}

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