Exposure in fetus of methylazoxymethanol in the rat alters brain neurotrophins' levels and brain cells' proliferation

Veronica Di Fausto, Marco Fiore, Luigi Aloe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes during gestation have been shown to induce brain maldevelopment associated with changes in neurotrophins as nerve growth factor (NGF), brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neuropsychiatric disorders in humans. A rat model of altered prenatal brain development resembling the onset of schizophrenia has been obtained by administering in fetus methylazoxymethanol (MAM) at gestational day 12 which impairs the growth of limbic pathways between the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus. Using the MAM model we studied in young rats the brain levels of both NGF/BDNF and their main receptors, TrkA/TrkB, to investigate whether or not changes in neurotrophins could affect the presence of brain BrdU positive cells. We found increased NGF and BDNF protein levels, associated with elevated TrkA and TrkB expression, in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, olfactory lobes and subventricular zone (SVZ), brain areas playing a key role in the production and migration of new dividing cells. We also found higher levels of BrdU positive cells in the SVZ and hippocampus but not a significant potentation in the entorhinal cortex and olfactory lobes. All together the findings indicate that prenatal MAM exposure in young rats may elicit both neurotrophins' elevation and cell proliferation in limbic brain areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • BDNF
  • MAM
  • NGF
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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