TrkB mediates BDNF-induced potentiation of neuronal necrosis in cortical culture

Hyun Jung Kim, Jung Jin Hwang, M. Margarita Behrens, B. Joy Snider, Dennis W. Choi, Jae Young Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In the present study, the signaling mechanisms underlying the effect of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) on neuronal necrosis were investigated. Exposure of mature mouse cortical cultures (more than 10 days in vitro (DIV)) to 50-100 ng/ml BDNF for 48 h induced widespread neuronal necrosis that was antioxidant-sensitive. This neuronal necrosis was blocked by the selective NMDA antagonist MK-801, suggesting that prolonged BDNF exposure caused endogenous levels of NMDA receptor activation to become excitotoxic. We examined whether the p75NTR played a role in BDNF-induced neuronal death. However, p75NTR expression was low in cultured cortical cells, and neutralizing antibodies to p75NTR did not attenuate BDNF-triggered neuronal death. In contrast, trkB antisense oligonucleotides and inhibitors of Trk tyrosine kinase blocked BDNF-triggered neuronal death as well as BDNF potentiation of iron-induced oxidative neuronal necrosis, suggesting a critical role for TrkB in this phenomenon. Furthermore, BDNF did not potentiate neuronal necrosis in cortical cultures prepared from embryonic TrkB-null mice. These results suggest that TrkB plays an important role in BDNF-mediated neuronal necrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Cell death, p75
  • Erk
  • Neurotrophin
  • Oxidative stress
  • TrkB knockout


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