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The role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in sensory hypersensitivity has been suggested; however the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction that regulate BDNF expression in primary afferent neurons during visceral inflammation are not clear. Here we used a rat model of cystitis and found that the mRNA and protein levels of BDNF were increased in the L6 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in response to bladder inflammation. BDNF up-regulation in the L6 DRG was triggered by endogenous nerve growth factor (NGF) because neutralization of NGF with a specific NGF antibody reduced BDNF levels during cystitis. The neutralizing NGF antibody also subsequently reduced cystitis-induced up-regulation of the serine/threonine kinase Akt activity in L6 DRG. To examine whether the NGF-induced Akt activation led to BDNF up-regulation in DRG in cystitis, we found that in cystitis the phospho-Akt immunoreactivity was co-localized with BDNF in L6 DRG, and prevention of the endogenous Akt activity in the L6 DRG by inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) with a potent inhibitor LY294002 reversed cystitis-induced BDNF up-regulation. Further study showed that application of NGF to the nerve terminals of the ganglion-nerve two-compartmented preparation enhanced BDNF expression in the DRG neuronal soma; which was reduced by pre-treatment of the ganglia with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and wortmannin. These in vivo and in vitro experiments indicated that NGF played an important role in the activation of Akt and subsequent up-regulation of BDNF in the sensory neurons in visceral inflammation such as cystitis.
Copyright: © 2013 Qiao et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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VCU Physiology and Biophysics Publications