Rapid and selective induction of BDNF expression in the hippocampus during contextual learning

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jun;3(6):533-5. doi: 10.1038/75698.


The hippocampus is required for many forms of long-term memory in both humans and animals, and formation of long-lasting memories requires the synthesis of new proteins. Furthermore, the long-term potentiation (LTP) of hippocampal synapses, a widely studied model of memory, also depends on both de novo gene transcription and protein synthesis and results in the activation of transcription from promotors containing the cAMP response element (CRE). Expression of several genes is induced during the establishment of LTP; these include the immediate-early genes (IEGs) BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), zif268 and C/EBPbeta (CCAAT-enhancer binding protein beta), all of which contain CRE sites within their promotor regions. However, these genes induced by LTP are not known to be rapidly induced following learning in a natural setting. Here we demonstrate rapid and selective induction of BDNF expression during hippocampus-dependent contextual learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / biosynthesis*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Gene Expression
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Egr1 protein, rat
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors