Corticosterone regulates expression of BDNF and trkB but not NT-3 and trkC mRNA in the rat hippocampus

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Neurosci Res, Volume 48, Number 4, p.334-41 (1997)


0360-4012 (Print)0360-40

DOI Name (links to online publication)



Animals; Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor/drug effects/*metabolism; Corticosterone/*pharmacology; Hippocampus/*drug effects/metabolism; In Situ Hybridization; Male; RNA; Messenger/metabolism; Rats; Rats; Wistar; Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases/drug eff


Corticosterone has profound effects on growth, differentiation, and synaptic transmission of hippocampal neurons by activation of mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). In the present study we tested if neurotrophins can be implicated in these effects. For this purpose we injected 30, 300, and 1,000 microg corticosterone s.c. (per kg body weight) in adrenalectomized rats and measured the mRNA levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tyrosine receptor kinase (trk)B, neurotrophin (NT)-3, and trkC in hippocampal cell fields at 6 hr after steroid administration by in situ hybridization. NT-3 and trkC mRNA did not show significant changes in any hippocampal region after the various doses of corticosterone. BDNF mRNA decreased after corticosterone administration dose dependently, resulting in a maximal suppression of 35, 20, and 50% in dentate gyrus, CA3, and CA1, respectively. Interestingly, trkB responded to corticosterone in an inverted U-shaped fashion in CA3 and dentate gyrus: the low dose of corticosterone increased trkB mRNA expression in both regions by approximately 30%, while the effect of the two higher doses was not different from the vehicle injected controls. In conclusion, we found differential effects of low and high doses of corticosterone on BDNF and trkB expression in hippocampus, which suggests involvement of a coordinated MR- and GR-mediated action.