Indexed on: 06 Jul '14Published on: 06 Jul '14Published in: Neuroscience Letters
BDNF has a widespread distribution in the central and peripheral nervous systems, suggesting that BDNF may play a role in the regulation of motor control. However, the direct actions of BDNF on the motoneurons and their underlying mechanisms are still largely unknown to date. Therefore, by using whole-cell patch clamp recordings, quantitative RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of BDNF on electrical activity and glycinergic transmission on the motoneurons and the underlying receptor mechanism. The results reveal: (i) BDNF did not produce a direct excitatory or inhibitory effect on the motoneurons; (ii) BDNF dose-dependently increased the glycinergic transmission on the motoneurons; (iii) glycinergic transmission on motoneurons was a direct postsynaptic effect; (iv) BDNF-induced enhancement of the glycinergic transmission was mediated by the activation of TrkB receptors; and (v) BDNF and its receptors TrkB had an extensive expression in the motoneurons. These results suggest that BDNF is directly involved in the regulation of glycinergic transmission on the motoneurons through postsynaptic TrkB receptors. Considering that the glycinergic synaptic transmission of motoneurons mainly comes from Renshaw cells, the important inhibitory interneurons of spinal cord, we speculate that BDNF may play an important role in the information integration in the spinal cord and participate in the sensitivity of motoneurons.