Choline up-regulates BDNF and down-regulates TrkB neurotrophin receptor in rat cortical cell culture

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In this study, possible involvements of choline and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in neurotrophic-related neuronal plasticity were investigated. Primary cell cultures from rat cerebral cortex were exposed for 72 h to the α7 nAChR selective agonist choline and protein expression levels of the neurotrophin receptors p75, TrkA, TrkB and TrkC were examined. The results revealed a choline-induced attenuation of the TrkB expression, whereas the other neurotrophin receptors were not affected. Further analysis of choline-exposed cell cultures showed an increased protein level of the TrkB ligand brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This increase was obtained in cell cultures where the α7 nAChR subunit was detected, but not in younger cell cultures where this subunit could not be detected. It is speculated that a choline-induced change of α7 nAChRs activity may have resulted in the observed increase of BDNF level and down-regulation of the TrkB receptor.

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