Brain‐derived neurotrophic factor improves proliferation of endometrial epithelial cells by inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress during early pregnancy Academic Article uri icon


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin family binds to two transmembrane receptors; neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (NTRK2) with high affinity and p75 with low affinity. Although BDNF-NTRK2 signaling in the central nervous system is known, signaling in the female reproductive system is unknown. Therefore, we determined effects of BDNF on porcine endometrial luminal epithelial (pLE) cells isolated from Day 12 of pregnancy, as well as expression of BDNF and NTRK2 in endometria of cyclic and pregnant pigs. BDNF-NTRK2 genes were expressed in uterine glandular (GE) and luminal (LE) epithelia during early pregnancy. In addition, their expression in uterine GE and LE decreased with increasing parity of sows. Recombinant BDNF increased proliferation in pLE cells in a dose-dependent, as well as expression of PCNA and Cyclin D1 in nuclei of pLE cells. BDNF also activated phosphorylation of AKT, P70S6K, S6, ERK1/2, JNK, P38 proteins in pLE cells. In addition, cell death resulting from tunicamycin-induced ER stress was prevented when pLE cells were treated with the combination of tunicamycin and BDNF which also decreased cells in the Sub-G1 phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, tunicamycin-induced unfolded protein response genes were mostly down-regulated to the basal levels as compared to non-treated pLE cells. Our finding suggests that BDNF acts via NTRK2 to induce development of pLE cells for maintenance of implantation and pregnancy by activating cell signaling via the PI3K and MAPK pathways and by inhibiting ER stress.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lim, W., Bae, H., Bazer, F. W., & Song, G.

citation count

  • 12

publication date

  • December 2017