Author(s): Galter D, Unsicker K
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Abstract Serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system are crucial in the control of autonomic functions and behavior. Mechanisms by which development and maintenance of the serotonergic transmitter phenotype is regulated include activation of protein kinase A (PKA). Using cultures established from the E14 rat raphe we show here that forskolin (10 microM) increases numbers of neurons expressing tryptophan hydroxylase (TpOH), the key enzyme of serotonin synthesis, and uptake of the false serotonergic transmitter 5, 7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT). As shown by short-term treatments the effect is due to phenotype induction rather than survival. To begin to understand downstream or parallel signaling pathways required for the PKA-mediated induction of serotonergic markers, we have studied the putative implication of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor trkB. Treatment of raphe neurons with forskolin induced BDNF mRNA assayed by competitive RT-PCR. Moreover, trkB-IgG receptor bodies fully prevented the forskolin-induced numerical increase in TpOH- and 5,7-DHT-positive cells suggesting an implication of a TrkB-activated pathway. TrkC-IgG had no effect. K252b, a specific inhibitor of trk kinase activity likewise abolished the induction of serotonergic markers by forskolin. In turn, the inductive effect of BDNF on serotonergic markers was blocked by KT5720, a specific inhibitor of PKA. Taken together, these data suggest that co-activation of cAMP- and trkB-dependent signaling pathways plays a crucial role in the regulation of the serotonergic neuronal phenotype. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in J Neurosci Res
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access