(1) Background: Our published data have indicated that 1) auraptene (AUR), a citrus ingredient, has neuroprotective effects on the mouse brain, owing to its ability to suppress inflammation, such as causing a reduction in hyperactivation of microglia and astrocytes; 2) AUR has the ability to trigger phosphorylation (activation) of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in neuronal cells; 3) AUR has the ability to induce glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) synthesis/secretion in rat C6 glioma cells. The well-established fact that the ERK-CREB pathway plays an important role in the production of neurotrophic factors, including GDNF and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), prompted us to investigate whether AUR would also have the ability to induce BDNF expression in neuronal cells. (2) Methods: Mouse neuroblastoma neuro2a cells were cultured and the effects of AUR on BDNF mRNA expression and protein content were evaluated by RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. (3) Results: The levels of BDNF mRNA and secreted BDNF were significantly increased by AUR in a dose- and time-dependent manner in neuro2a cells. (4) Conclusion: The induction of BDNF in neuronal cells might be, in part, one of the mechanisms accounting for the neuroprotective effects of AUR.
Keywords: BDNF; auraptene; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; neuro2a cells; neuroprotective effect.