Anterograde axonal transport of BDNF and NT-3 by retinal ganglion cells: roles of neurotrophin receptors.

Research paper by Rafal R Butowt, Christopher S CS von Bartheld

Indexed on: 04 May '05Published on: 04 May '05Published in: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience


Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) transport exogenous neurotrophins anterogradely to the midbrain tectum/superior colliculus with significant downstream effects. We determined contributions of neurotrophin receptors for anterograde transport of intraocularly injected radiolabeled neurotrophins. In adult rodents, anterograde transport of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was receptor-mediated, and transport of exogenous BDNF and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) was more efficient, per RGC, in rodents than chicks. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis of purified murine RGCs showed that adult RGCs express the p75 receptor. Anterograde transport of BDNF or NT-3 was not diminished in p75 knock-out mice (with unaltered final numbers of RGCs), but BDNF transport was substantially reduced by co-injected trkB antibodies. In chick embryos, however, p75 antisense or co-injected p75 antibodies significantly attenuated anterograde transport of NT-3 by RGCs. Thus, neither BDNF nor NT-3 utilizes p75 for anterograde transport in adult rodent RGCs, while anterograde NT-3 transport requires the p75 receptor in embryonic chicken RGCs.