Brain-derived neurotrophic factor induces proliferation, migration, and VEGF secretion in human multiple myeloma cells via activation of MEK-ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling

Tumour Biol. 2010 Apr;31(2):121-8. doi: 10.1007/s13277-010-0016-x. Epub 2010 Feb 11.


This study investigated the signaling pathways involved in the different biological effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in multiple myeloma (MM). The effects of BDNF on proliferation of MM cell lines and primary myeloma cells were examined by [(3)H]thymidine incorporation assay. The effects of BDNF on MM cells migration were studied by transwell migration assay. Stimulation by BDNF of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production was analyzed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The signal-transduction pathways that are activated in response to BDNF were determined by Western blots. VEGF is induced by BDNF in a dose-dependent manner in MM cells. Stimulation of MM cells with BDNF led to the activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and the MEK-extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase pathways. Using specific signal-transduction inhibitors, we demonstrated that MEK is required for BDNF-induced proliferation, whereas activation of PI3K is required for BDNF-stimulated migration and VEGF production. BDNF affects different cell signaling pathways mediating growth, migration, and VEGF secretion in MM cells. Our observations provided the framework for novel therapeutic strategies targeting BDNF signaling cascades in MM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / physiology*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1 / physiology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP2K1 protein, human