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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor prevents the death of motoneurons in newborn rats after nerve section


MOTONEURONS innervating the skeletal musculature were among the first neurons shown to require the presence of their target cells to develop appropriately1,2. But the characterization of molecules allowing motoneuron survival has been difficult. Ciliary neurotrophic factor prevents the death of motoneurons3–6, but its gene is not expressed during development7. Although the presence of a neurotrophin receptor on developing motoneurons8–10 has suggested a role for neurotrophins, none could be shown to promote motoneuron survival in vitro3. We report here that brain-derived neurotrophic factor can prevent the death of axotomized motoneurons in newborn rats, suggesting a role for this neurotrophin for motoneuron survival in vivo.

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Sendtner, M., Holtmann, B., Kolbeck, R. et al. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor prevents the death of motoneurons in newborn rats after nerve section. Nature 360, 757–759 (1992).

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