Heterogeneity of the developmental patterns of neurotrophin protein levels among neocortical areas of macaque monkeys

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Based on morphological and physiological characteristics, the mammalian neocortex is divided into various neocortical areas and its diversity is prominent in the primates including humans. These neocortical areas are constructed during development, but the details of the developmental events remain unclear, especially at the molecular level. We measured the mRNA and protein levels of neurotrophins in various neocortical areas of developing rhesus monkeys. The expression patterns of both the neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) mRNA and the protein showed area differences. In the sensory and motor areas, NT-3 mRNA and protein levels had started to decline by a week after birth. In contrast, the levels declined after the third postnatal week in the association neocortical areas. The level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein changed in an area-dependent manner during development, but that of mRNA did not. The decline of the BDNF protein level started earlier in the sensory and motor neocortical areas than in the association neocortical areas, suggesting that sensory and motor neocortical areas develop earlier than the association areas in terms of the developmental changes in neurotrophins.

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