Role of Neurotrophic Factors

■ Several growth factors, including brain-derived growth factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4/5) are synthesised by neurons in the adult spinal cord, which may play a role in its neu-roplasticity (Lu et al., J Neurosci 2004)

■ When stimulated by the glutamate agonist, kainic acid, subsets of these neurons show specific increases in their expression of BDNF and NT-4/5, suggesting that signalling between neurons controls the availability of these factors, which, in turn influence the properties of local circuits within the cord

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