Expression of neurotrophins BDNF and NT-3, and their receptors in rat brain after administration of antipsychotic and psychotrophic agents

J Mol Neurosci. 2000 Feb-Apr;14(1-2):27-37. doi: 10.1385/JMN:14:1-2:027.


We have investigated the potential role of neurotrophic factors in antipsychotic drug action by examining the effects of antipsychotic and psychotropic treatments on the mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and their receptors, trkB and trkC, respectively, in rat brain. Neither acute nor chronic clozapine treatment significantly affected the expression of these mRNAs in any brain area investigated, except for a decrease in trkB expression in the granule cells of the olfactory bulb. We then examined the effects of the psychotropic agent MK-801. MK-801 (5 mg/kg; 4 h) significantly increased BDNF mRNA in the entorhinal cortex, but did not influence NT-3, trkB, or trkC expression in any brain area except for the olfactory bulb. The induction of BDNF mRNA by MK-801 was attenuated by pre-treatment (1 h prior to MK-801 administration) with the antipsychotics, clozapine (25 mg/kg) and haloperidol (2 mg/kg), but not with the antidepressant desipramine (15 mg/kg). Finally, we confirmed that the effects of MK-801 on BDNF mRNA were reflected in the respective changes in BDNF protein levels: MK-801 significantly increased anti-BDNF reactivity in the entorhinal cortex (126 +/- 7% of control) while concomitantly decreasing in the hippocampus (71 +/- 2% of control). These data do not support the hypothesis that neurotrophins play an important role in antipsychotic drug action, but rather suggest that induction of BDNF in the entorhinal cortex may play a significant role in the psychotropic action of MK-801.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Clozapine / pharmacology*
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neurotrophin 3 / genetics*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, trkB / genetics*
  • Receptor, trkC / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Neurotrophin 3
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Receptor, trkB
  • Receptor, trkC
  • Clozapine