Learning and Memory

Postsynaptic Action of BDNF in Synaptic Plasticity

Science's STKE  05 Mar 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 122, pp. tw98
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.122.tw98

Neurotrophins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) play an important role in synaptic plasticity, but their precise mechanism of action is still controversial. Kovalchuk et al. (see the Perspective by Manabe) combined electrophysiological recordings and Ca2+ imaging to study the effects of BDNF on dentate granule cells in hippocampal slices. Brief puffs of BDNF caused rapid Ca2+ transients in individual dendritic spines. Pairing weak tetanus stimulation with BDNF application could induce long-term potentiation (LTP) that completely occluded tetanus-evoked LTP. The induction of LTP could be blocked by postsynaptic Ca2+ chelation or by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists. All of these findings point toward a postsynaptic mechanism for BDNF-induced LTP.

Y. Kovalchuk, E. Hanse, K. W. Kafitz, A. Konnerth, Postsynaptic induction of BDNF-mediated long-term potentiation. Science 295, 1729-1734 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]

T. Manabe, Does BDNF have pre- or postsynaptic targets? Science 295, 1651-1653 (2002). [Full Text]