Neurochemical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 1163–1170 | Cite as

Müller Cells as a Source of Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor in the Retina: Noradrenaline Upregulates Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels in Cultured Rat Müller Cells

  • Masaaki Seki
  • Takayuki Tanaka
  • Yasuhiro Sakai
  • Takeo Fukuchi
  • Haruki Abe
  • Hiroyuki Nawa
  • Nobuyuki Takei


Müller cells, the predominant glial cells in the retina, are thought to play important roles in the survival of retinal neurons. Previous studies have demonstrated that Müller cells express brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has a pronounced neurotrophic effect on retinal ganglion cells. In this study, we investigated whether Müller cells express and release BDNF in culture. Reverse transcriptase-PCR, immunocytochemistry and Western blotting revealed that Müller cells produce BDNF mRNA and protein. Using the enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay, BDNF protein levels in Müller cells and their conditioned medium were quantified, demonstrating that Müller cells produce and release high levels of BDNF. Noradrenaline administration caused an upregulation of BDNF mRNA and protein expression by cultured Müller cells. These results suggest that Müller cells may act as an endogenous source of BDNF in the retina. Furthermore, induction of BDNF expression by adrenergic agonists may provide a therapeutic approach to retinal neurodegenerative disorders.


Adrenergic agonist astrocyte glia neuroprotection neurotrophin retina 



brain-derived neurotrophic factor




retinal ganglion cell


ganglion cell layer


inner nuclear layer


enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay


glutamine synthetase


l-glutamate/l-aspartate transporter


sodium dodecyl sulfate


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masaaki Seki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takayuki Tanaka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yasuhiro Sakai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takeo Fukuchi
    • 2
  • Haruki Abe
    • 2
  • Hiroyuki Nawa
    • 1
  • Nobuyuki Takei
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Brain Research InstituteNiigata UniversityNigataJapan
  2. 2.Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Graduated School of Medical and Dental SciencesNiigata UniversityNiigataJapan

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