BDNF transcripts, proBDNF and proNGF, in the cortex and hippocampus throughout the life span of the rat
Tesić, Vesna T
Mladenović Đorđević, Aleksandra
Kanazir, Selma D.
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Neurotrophins are established molecular mediators of neuronal plasticity in the adult brain. We analyzed the impact of aging on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) protein isoforms, their receptors, and on the expression patterns of multiple 5' exon-specific BDNF transcripts in the rat cortex and hippocampus throughout the life span of the rat (6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age). ProNGF was increased during aging in both structures. Mature NGF gradually decreased in the cortex, and, in 24-month-old animals, it was 30 % lower than that in adult 6-month-old rats. The BDNF expression did not change during aging, while proBDNF accumulated in the hippocampus of aged rats. Hippocampal total BDNF mRNA was lower in 12-month-old animals, mostly as a result of a decrease of BDNF transcripts 1 and 2. In contrast to the region-specific regulation of specific exon-containing BDNF mRNAs in adult animals, the same BDNF RNA isoforms (containing exons III, IV, or VI) were present in both brain structures of aged animals. Deficits in neurotrophin signaling were supported by the observed decrease in Trk receptor expression which was accompanied by lower levels of the two main downstream effector kinases, pAkt and protein kinase C. The proteolytic processing of p75NTR observed in 12-month-old rats points to an additional regulatory mechanism in early aging. The changes described herein could contribute to reduced brain plasticity underlying the age-dependent decline in cognitive function.