BDNF, but not NT-4, is necessary for normal development of Meissner corpuscles

Neurosci Lett. 2005 Mar 22;377(1):12-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2004.11.078. Epub 2004 Dec 19.


Meissner corpuscles are rapidly adapting cutaneous mechanoreceptors depending for development on TrkB expressing sensory neurons, but it remains to be established which of the known TrkB ligands, BDNF or NT-4, is responsible of this dependence. In this study we analyze Meissner corpuscles in the digital pads of mice with target mutations in the genes encoding for either BDNF or NT-4, using immunohistochemistry and transmission-electron microscopy, and they were identified based on their morphology and expression of S100 protein. All wild-type animals as well as NT-4(-/-) animals and BDNF and NT4 heterozygous animals have Meissner corpuscles that are normal in number and size. However, Meissner corpuscles are absent the BDNF(-/-) mice. These results suggest that BDNF is the only TrkB ligand involved in the development of Meissner corpuscles in murine glabrous skin, and it probably regulates the development of the sensory neurons that innervate Meissner corpuscles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / deficiency*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology*
  • Ligands
  • Mechanoreceptors / chemistry
  • Mechanoreceptors / growth & development*
  • Mechanoreceptors / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Growth Factors / deficiency*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Ligands
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptor, trkB
  • neurotrophin 4