In our previous report (Satoh et al., 1999. Regulation of reactive oxygen species by nerve growth factor but not by Bcl-2 as a novel mechanism of protection of PC12 cells from superoxide anion-induced death. J. Biochem. 125, 952-959), we reported that nerve growth factor (NGF) protected PC12 cells from superoxide anion (O2-)-induced cell death through a novel regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which increased O2- and decreased hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), indicating that decreasing conversion from O2- to H2O2 is a critical process for the protection by NGF. In the present study, we performed a comparative study on protective mechanisms between NGF and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) using TrkB-expressing PC12h cells. When compared with NGF, BDNF induced a weaker but significant protective effect on the cells from O2- induced death. BDNF did not seem to change the total amount of ROS in the cells treated with xanthine and xanthine oxidase. On the other hand, BDNF increased O2- and decreased H2O2- levels in the same cells, although not so strongly as NGF. These results suggest that decreasing conversion from O2- to H2O2 is also critical for the protection by BDNF, which is considered to play a central role in survival and differentiation of CNS neurons.