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Targeted disruption of the BDNF gene perturbs brain and sensory neuron development but not motor neuron development.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin, enhances the survival and differentiation of several classes of neurons in vitro. To determine its essential functions, we have mutated the BDNF gene. Most homozygote mutants die within 2 days after birth, but a fraction live for 2-4 weeks. These develop symptoms of nervous system dysfunction, including ataxia. The BDNF mutant homozygotes have substantially reduced numbers of cranial and spinal sensory neurons. Although their central nervous systems show no gross structural abnormalities, expression of neuropeptide Y and calcium-binding proteins is altered in many neurons, suggesting they do not function normally. In contrast with mice lacking the BDNF receptor TrkB, motor neurons appear normal in the BDNF mutant.

Pubmed ID: 8137432


  • Jones KR
  • FariƱas I
  • Backus C
  • Reichardt LF



Publication Data

March 25, 1994

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: MH48200
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P01 NS016033
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P01 NS016033-17A10014

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Motor Neurons
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurons, Afferent
  • Sequence Deletion