Downregulation of BDNF mRNA and protein in the rat hippocampus by corticosterone

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Brain Res, Volume 813, Number 1, p.112-120 (1998)


0006-8993 (Print)0006-89

DOI Name (links to online publication)



Animals; Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor/*genetics/metabolism; Corticosterone/blood/*pharmacology; Dentate Gyrus/drug effects/metabolism; Down-Regulation; Hippocampus/*drug effects/metabolism; Male; RNA; Messenger/*metabolism; Rats; Rats; Wistar; Recept


Previously, we showed that corticosterone regulates BDNF mRNA levels in the hippocampus. In the present study, we have investigated the time course and dose-dependency of this effect at both the mRNA and the protein level. Corticosterone was administered in doses of 30 and 1000 microgram/kg b.w. subcutaneously to adrenalectomized animals. At 3, 6, 12 and 24 h after administration BDNF and trkB mRNA levels in hippocampal subfields were measured by in situ hybridization. Our results show a dose-dependent decrease in BDNF mRNA in dentate gyrus and CA1 at 3 h. After the high dose, this decrease was 70% and 40% respectively. In addition, ELISA was performed to study if this downregulation is also detectable at the protein level. Hippocampal tissue was used from adrenalectomized animals which had received 1000 microgram/kg b.w. corticosterone 4 and 6 h before decapitation. At both time points, a decrease in BDNF protein was observed; 17% at 4 h and 14% at 6 h after corticosterone, as compared to the vehicle injected controls. TrkB mRNA levels were not affected by corticosterone. However, between 6 and 24 h after treatment, increases in trkB mRNA were observed. In conclusion, we have found a transient, dose-dependent decrease in BDNF mRNA and protein in the hippocampus, which may underly changes in neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus after short-term changes in corticosterone concentrations.