Are there differences between the secretion characteristics of NGF and BDNF? Implications for the modulatory role of neurotrophins in activity-dependent neuronal plasticity
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In previous experiments the activity-dependent secretion of nerve growth factor (NGF) from native hippocampal slices and from NGF-cDNA transfected hippocampal neurons showed unusual characteristics [Blochl and Thoenen (1995) Eur J Neurosci 7:1220-1228; (1996) Mol Cell Neurosci 7:173-190]. In both hippocampal slices and cultured hippocampal neurons the activity-dependent secretion proved to be independent of extracellular calcium, but dependent on the release of calcium from intracellular stores. Under different experimental conditions, Goodman et al. [(1996) Mol Cell Neurosci 7:222-238] reported that the high potassium-mediated secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from hippocampal cultures was dependent on extracellular calcium. Mowla et al. [(1997) Proc 27th Annu Meet Soc Neurosci New Orleans 875.10] reported on even further-reaching differences between NGF and BDNF secretion, namely, that in hippocampal neurons and in pituitary cell lines NGF was secreted exclusively according to the constitutive pathway, whereas BDNF was exclusively sorted according to the activity-dependent regulated pathway. In view of the crucial importance of such potential differences between the processing, sorting, and secretory mechanisms of different neurotrophins for their modulatory roles in activity-dependent neuronal plasticity, a thorough analysis under comparable experimental conditions was mandatory. We demonstrate that in native hippocampal slices and adenoviral-transduced hippocampal neurons there are no differences between NGF and BDNF with respect to the subcellular distribution and mechanism of secretion; that the activity-dependent secretion of both NGF and BDNF is dependent on intact intracellular calcium stores; and that the differences between our own observations and those of Goodman et al. (ibid.) regarding the dependence on extracellular calcium do not reflect differences between NGF and BDNF sorting and secretion, but reflect the differing experimental conditions used.
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