Neurotrophins and Proneurotrophins: Focus on Synaptic Activity and Plasticity in the Brain

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Neurotrophins have been intensively studied and have multiple roles in the brain. Neurotrophins are first synthetized as proneurotrophins and then cleaved intracellularly and extracellularly. Increasing evidences demonstrate that proneurotrophins and mature neurotrophins exerts opposing role in the central nervous system. In the present review, we explore the role of nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin 3 (NT3), and neurotrophin 4 (NT4) and their respective proform in cellular processes related to learning and memory. We focused on their roles in synaptic activity and plasticity in the brain with an emphasis on long-term potentiation, long-term depression, and basal synaptic transmission in the hippocampus and the temporal lobe area. We also discuss new findings on the role of the Val66Met polymorphism on the BDNF propeptide on synaptic activity.

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