Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, phosphorylated cyclic AMP response element binding protein and neuropeptide Y decline as early as middle age in the dentate gyrus and CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus. Academic Article uri icon


  • The hippocampus is very susceptible to aging. Severely diminished dentate neurogenesis at middle age is one of the most conspicuous early changes in the aging hippocampus, which is likely linked to an early decline in the concentration of neurotrophic factors and signaling proteins that influence neurogenesis. We analyzed three proteins that are well-known to promote dentate neurogenesis and learning and memory function in the dentate gyrus and the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 subfields of young, middle-aged and aged F344 rats. These include the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the transcription factor phosphorylated cyclic AMP response element binding protein (p-CREB) and the neuropeptide neuropeptide Y (NPY). The BDNF was analyzed via ELISA and BDNF immunohistochemistry, the p-CREB through densitometric analysis of p-CREB immunopositive cells, and the NPY via stereological counting of NPY-immunopositive interneurons. We provide new evidence that the BDNF concentration, the p-CREB immunoreactivity and the number of NPY immunopositive interneurons decline considerably by middle age in both dentate gyrus and CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus. However, both BDNF concentration and NPY immunopositive interneuron numbers exhibit no significant decrease between middle age and old age. In contrast, the p-CREB immunoreactivity diminishes further during this period, which is also associated with reduced BDNF immunoreaction within the soma of dentate granule cells and hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Collectively, these results suggest that severely dampened dentate neurogenesis observed at middle age is linked at least partially to reduced concentrations of BDNF, p-CREB and NPY, as each of these proteins is a positive regulator of dentate neurogenesis. Dramatically diminished CREB phosphorylation (and persistently reduced levels of BDNF and NPY) at old age may underlie the learning and memory impairments observed during senescence.

published proceedings

  • Exp Neurol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hattiangady, B., Rao, M. S., Shetty, G. A., & Shetty, A. K.

citation count

  • 192

complete list of authors

  • Hattiangady, Bharathi||Rao, Muddanna S||Shetty, Geetha A||Shetty, Ashok K

publication date

  • January 2005