Circadian rhythm of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus.
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This study was conducted to determine whether the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is characterized by circadian expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In constant darkness, SCN content of both BDNF mRNA and protein oscillated in a circadian fashion. BDNF mRNA and protein levels in the SCN reached peak values during the early subjective day and during the subjective night, respectively. In contrast, the hippocampus showed no sign of circadian rhythmicity in its expression of BDNF mRNA and protein. Since BDNF enhances synaptic transmission in other brain regions, the coincidence between peak expression of BDNF protein in the SCN and the known interval of circadian pacemaker sensitivity to the phase-shifting effects of light may have some implications for the role of BDNF in the circadian regulation of the SCN pacemaker by photic signals from the retinohypothalamic tract.