Gene Summary

Gene:BDNF; brain derived neurotrophic factor
Aliases: ANON2, BULN2
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the nerve growth factor family of proteins. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants, at least one of which encodes a preproprotein that is proteolytically processed to generate the mature protein. Binding of this protein to its cognate receptor promotes neuronal survival in the adult brain. Expression of this gene is reduced in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease patients. This gene may play a role in the regulation of the stress response and in the biology of mood disorders. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 09 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 09 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

Latest Publications: BDNF (cancer-related)

Teoh SL, Das S
Tumour biology of obesity-related cancers: understanding the molecular concept for better diagnosis and treatment.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(11):14363-14380 [PubMed] Related Publications
Obesity continues to be a major global problem. Various cancers are related to obesity and proper understanding of their aetiology, especially their molecular tumour biology is important for early diagnosis and better treatment. Genes play an important role in the development of obesity. Few genes such as leptin, leptin receptor encoded by the db (diabetes), pro-opiomelanocortin, AgRP and NPY and melanocortin-4 receptors and insulin-induced gene 2 were linked to obesity. MicroRNAs control gene expression via mRNA degradation and protein translation inhibition and influence cell differentiation, cell growth and cell death. Overexpression of miR-143 inhibits tumour growth by suppressing B cell lymphoma 2, extracellular signal-regulated kinase-5 activities and KRAS oncogene. Cancers of the breast, uterus, renal, thyroid and liver are also related to obesity. Any disturbance in the production of sex hormones and insulin, leads to distortion in the balance between cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The possible mechanism linking obesity to cancer involves alteration in the level of adipokines and sex hormones. These mediators act as biomarkers for cancer progression and act as targets for cancer therapy and prevention. Interestingly, many anti-cancerous drugs are also beneficial in treating obesity and vice versa. We also reviewed the possible link in the mechanism of few drugs which act both on cancer and obesity. The present review may be important for molecular biologists, oncologists and clinicians treating cancers and also pave the way for better therapeutic options.

Liang Y, Liu Y, Hou B, et al.
CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 1 enhances CREB-dependent gene expression in spinal cord to maintain the bone cancer pain in mice.
Mol Pain. 2016; 12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)-dependent gene expression plays an important role in central sensitization. CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 1 (CRTC1) dramatically increases CREB-mediated transcriptional activity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 2B, and miRNA-212/132, which are highly CREB responsive, function downstream from CREB/CRTC1 to mediate activity-dependent synaptic plasticity and in turn loops back to amplify CREB/CRTC1 signaling. This study aimed to investigate the role of spinal CRTC1 in the maintenance of bone cancer pain using an RNA interference method.
RESULTS: Osteosarcoma cells were implanted into the intramedullary space of the right femurs of C3H/HeNCrlVr mice to induce bone cancer pain. Western blotting was applied to examine the expression of spinal phospho-Ser133 CREB and CRTC1. We further investigated effects of repeated intrathecal administration with Adenoviruses expressing CRTC1-small interfering RNA (siRNA) on nociceptive behaviors and on the upregulation of CREB/CRTC1-target genes associated with bone cancer pain. Inoculation of osteosarcoma cells induced progressive mechanical allodynia and spontaneous pain, and resulted in upregulation of spinal p-CREB and CRTC1. Repeated intrathecal administration with Adenoviruses expressing CRTC1-siRNA attenuated bone cancer-evoked pain behaviors, and reduced CREB/CRTC1-target genes expression in spinal cord, including BDNF, NR2B, and miR-212/132.
CONCLUSIONS: Upregulation of CRTC1 enhancing CREB-dependent gene transcription in spinal cord may play an important role in bone cancer pain. Inhibition of spinal CRTC1 expression reduced bone cancer pain. Interruption to the positive feedback circuit between CREB/CRTC1 and its targets may contribute to the analgesic effects. These findings may provide further insight into the mechanisms and treatment of bone cancer pain.

Dooley LN, Ganz PA, Cole SW, et al.
Val66Met BDNF polymorphism as a vulnerability factor for inflammation-associated depressive symptoms in women with breast cancer.
J Affect Disord. 2016; 197:43-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Inflammation contributes to the development of depression in a subset of individuals, but risk factors that render certain individuals particularly vulnerable to inflammation-associated depression are undetermined. Drawing from animal studies showing that reduced neuroplasticity mediates effects of inflammation on depression, we hypothesized that individuals genetically predisposed to lower levels of neuroplasticity would be more susceptible to inflammation-associated depression. The current study examined whether the Met allele of the BDNF Val66met polymorphism, which predisposes individuals to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein vital for neuroplasticity, moderates the association between inflammation and depressive symptoms.
METHODS: Our sample was 112 women with early-stage breast cancer who had recently completed cancer treatment, which can activate inflammation. Participants provided blood for genotyping and assessment of circulating inflammatory markers, and completed a questionnaire assessing depressive symptoms, including somatic, affective, and cognitive dimensions.
RESULTS: There was a significant interaction between C-reactive protein (CRP) and the BDNF Val66met polymorphism in predicting cognitive depressive symptoms (p=.004), such that higher CRP was related to more cognitive depressive symptoms among Met allele carriers, but not among Val/Val homozygotes. Post-hoc longitudinal analyses suggested that, for Met carriers, higher CRP at baseline predicted higher cognitive depressive symptoms across a one-year follow-up period (p<.001).
CONCLUSION: The BDNF Met allele may be a risk factor for inflammation-associated cognitive depressive symptoms among breast cancer survivors. Women with breast cancer who carry this genotype may benefit from early identification and treatment.
LIMITATION: BDNF genotype is an indirect measure of BDNF protein levels.

Han L, Ma J, Duan W, et al.
Pancreatic stellate cells contribute pancreatic cancer pain via activation of sHH signaling pathway.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(14):18146-58 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
Abdominal pain is a critical clinical symptom in pancreatic cancer (PC) that affects the quality of life for PC patients. However, the pathogenesis of PC pain is largely unknown. In this study, we show that PC pain is initiated by the sonic hedgehog (sHH) signaling pathway in pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), which is activated by sHH secreted from PC cells, and then, neurotrophic factors derived from PSCs mediate the pain. The different culture systems were established in vitro, and the expression of sHH pathway molecules, neurotrophic factors, TRPV1, and pain factors were examined. Capsaicin-evoked TRPV1 currents in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons were examined by the patch-clamp technique. Pain-related behavior was observed in an orthotopic tumor model. sHH and PSCs increased the expression and secretion of TRPV1, SP, and CGRP by inducing NGF and BDNF in a co-culture system, also increasing TRPV1 current. But, suppressing sHH pathway or NGF reduced the expression of TRPV1, SP, and CGRP. In vivo, PSCs and PC cells that expressed high levels of sHH could enhance pain behavior. Furthermore, the blockade of NGF or TRPV1 significantly attenuated the pain response to mechanical stimulation compared with the control. Our results demonstrate that sHH signaling pathway is involved in PC pain, and PSCs play an essential role in the process greatly by inducing NGF.

Zhang SY, Hui LP, Li CY, et al.
More expression of BDNF associates with lung squamous cell carcinoma and is critical to the proliferation and invasion of lung cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:171 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been reported to promote tumorigenesis and progression in several human malignancies. The purpose of this study was to explore the function of BDNF in lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (ADC).
METHODS: The expression of BDNF was examined in 110 samples of lung SCC and ADC by immunohistochemistry. The protein level of BDNF was examined in 25 lung SCC or ADC samples and paired non-tumors by western blot. BDNF expression was also evaluated in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBE) and 4 lung cancer cell lines using western blot. Three BDNF mRNA variants containing exons IV, VI and IX were evaluated in HBE, two SCC (SK, LK2) and two ADC (A549, LTE) cell lines by RT-PCR. The expression and secretion of BDNF were also determined in cells using western blot and ELISA. Then the shRNA specific for BDNF was transfected into LK2 or A549 cells to further elucidate the BDNF knockdown on cell proliferation, apoptosis and invasion, which were confirmed by MTT, flow cytometry and transwell examinations.
RESULTS: 71.8 % (79 out of 110) of lung SCC and ADC samples were detected positive BDNF, and high expression of BDNF was significantly correlated with histological type and T stage. Compared with non-tumorous counterparts, BDNF was apparently overexpressed in SCC and ADC tissues. In cell studies, the extensive expression and secretion of BDNF were demonstrated in lung cancer cells compared with HBE cells. Interestingly, the expressions of BDNF mRNA variant IV and VI were identical in all cells examined. However, more expression of BDNF mRNA variant IX was found in SK and LK2 cells. The apoptotic cells were increased, and the cell proliferation and invasion were both attenuated once the expression of BDNF was inhibited. When retreated by rhBDNF, BDNF knockdown cells showed less apoptotic or more proliferative and invasive.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that BDNF probably facilitates the tumorigenesis of lung SCC and ADC. The expression of BDNF mRNA variant IX is probably more helpful to the upregulation of BDNF in SCC, and intervening the production of BDNF could be a possible strategy to lung cancer therapy.

Lattanzio F, Carboni L, Carretta D, et al.
Treatment with the neurotoxic Aβ (25-35) peptide modulates the expression of neuroprotective factors Pin1, Sirtuin 1, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells.
Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2016; 68(5):271-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The deposition of Amyloid β peptide plaques is a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The Aβ (25-35) peptide is regarded as the toxic fragment of full-length Aβ (1-42). The mechanism of its toxicity is not completely understood, along with its contribution to AD pathological processes. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the neurotoxic Aβ (25-35) peptide on the expression of the neuroprotective factors Pin1, Sirtuin1, and Bdnf in human neuroblastoma cells. Levels of Pin1, Sirtuin 1, and Bdnf were compared by real-time PCR and Western blotting in SH-SY5Y cells treated with Aβ (25-35) or administration vehicle. The level of Pin1 gene and protein expression was significantly decreased in cells exposed to 25 μM Aβ (25-35) compared to vehicle-treated controls. Similarly, Sirtuin1 expression was significantly reduced by Aβ (25-35) exposure. In contrast, both Bdnf mRNA and protein levels were significantly increased by Aβ (25-35) treatment, suggesting the activation of a compensatory response to the insult. Both Pin1 and Sirtuin 1 exert a protective role by reducing the probability of plaque deposition, since they promote amyloid precursor protein processing through non-amyloidogenic pathways. The present results show that Aβ (25-35) peptide reduced the production of these neuroprotective proteins, thus further increasing Aβ generation.

Long J, Jiang C, Liu B, et al.
MicroRNA-15a-5p suppresses cancer proliferation and division in human hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting BDNF.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):5821-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
We examined the expression pattern and functional roles of microRNA 15a-5p (miR-15a-5p) in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Possible miR-15a-5p aberrant expression in HCC cell lines or clinical HCC specimens was examined by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). In HCC HepG2 and SNU-182 cells, miR-15a-5p was ectopically overexpressed by lentiviral transduction. Its effect on HCC proliferation, cancer division, and in vivo tumor growth were examined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, cell cycle assay, and tumorigenicity assay, respectively. The targeting of miR-15a-5p on its downstream gene, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), was examined by dual-luciferase assay, qRT-PCR, and Western blot, respectively. BDNF was then overexpressed in HepG2 and SNU-182 cells to evaluate its selective effect on miR-15a-5p in HCC modulation. MiR-15a-5p is aberrantly downregulated in in vitro HCC cell lines and in vivo HCC clinical specimens. Ectopic overexpression of miR-15a-5p suppressed cancer proliferation, induced cell cycle arrest in HepG2 or SNU-182 cells in vitro, and inhibited HCC tumor growth in vivo. MiR-15a-5p selectively and negatively regulated BDNF at both gene and protein levels in HCC cells. Forced overexpression of BDNF effectively reversed the tumor suppressive functions of miR-15a-5p on HCC proliferation and cell division in vitro. Our study demonstrated that miR-15a-5p is a tumor suppressor in HCC and its regulation is through BDNF in HCC.

Aili A, Chen Y, Zhang H
MicroRNA‑10b suppresses the migration and invasion of chondrosarcoma cells by targeting brain‑derived neurotrophic factor.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 13(1):441-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRs) can lead to mRNA degradation or inhibit protein translation through directly binding to the 3'‑untranslational region (UTR) of their target mRNAs. Deregulation of miR‑10b has been reported to be associated with chondrosarcoma. However, the role of miR‑10b in chondrosarcoma cell migration and invasion, as well as the underlying mechanisms, has not been investigated. In the present study, it was demonstrated that miR‑10b was notably downregulated in the JJ012 and SW1353 chondrosarcoma cell lines compared with the TC28a2 normal chondrocyte line. Treatment with DNA demethylating agent 5‑aza‑2'‑deoxycytidine and histone deacetylase inhibitor 4‑phenylbutyric acid, or transfection with miR‑10b mimics promoted the expression of miR‑10b, which further suppressed the migratory and invasive capacities of JJ012 chondrosarcoma cells. Moreover, brain‑derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was identified as a novel target of miR‑10b, and its protein expression level was negatively regulated by miR‑10b in JJ012 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of BDNF reversed the inhibitory effect of miR‑10b upregulation on the migration and invasion of JJ012 cells. In addition, the data suggest that matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) may be involved in the miR‑10b/BDNF‑mediated chondrosarcoma cell migration and invasion in JJ012 cells. In conclusion, these findings suggest that miR‑10b/BDNF may serve as a potential therapeutic target for chondrosarcoma.

Shan C, Wei J, Hou R, et al.
Schwann cells promote EMT and the Schwann-like differentiation of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma cells via the BDNF/TrkB axis.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(1):427-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Perineural invasion (PNI) is a striking biological behavior observed in salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC). The present study was designed to establish a co-culture model of SACC cells with Schwann cells (SCs), and then study epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the Schwann-like differentiation of SACC cells to investigate the likely molecular mechanism of PNI. The co-culture models of SCs with tumor cells (SACC-83, SACC-LM and MEC-1) were established using a Transwell system. An elevated concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was detected by ELISA assay in the co-cultured medium of the SACC-83 group and SACC-LM group rather than the MEC-1 group. The EMT process and Schwann-like differentiation in SACC-83 cells were analyzed by RT-PCR, western blotting, immunofluorescence, photography, and migration and perineural invasion assays. The SACC-83 cells under the co-culture condition with SCs changed to a mesenchymal morphology and had higher migration and invasion capabilities compared with the solely cultured SACC-83 cells, accompanied by the downregulation of E-cadherin and upregulation of N-cadherin and vimentin. The co-cultured SACC-83 cells also developed Schwann-like differentiation with increased expression of SC markers, S100A4 and GFAP. However, inhibition of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) by K252a markedly blocked these effects. Additionally, the expression and correlation of TrkB, E-cadherin and S100A4 were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 187 primary SACC cases. The levels of TrkB and S100A4 expression were both positively associated with PNI in the SACC cases, while E-cadherin expression was negatively associated with PNI. Elevated expression of TrkB was significantly correlated with the downregulated expression of E-cadherin and the upregulated expression of S100A4 in the SACC cases. Our results suggest that SCs play a pivotal role in the PNI process by inducing the EMT process and the Schwann-like differentiation of SACC cells via the BDNF/TrkB axis. Interruption of the interreaction between SACC cells and SCs by targeting the BDNF/TrkB axis may be a potential strategy for anti-PNI therapy in SACC.

Streiter S, Fisch B, Sabbah B, et al.
The importance of neuronal growth factors in the ovary.
Mol Hum Reprod. 2016; 22(1):3-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
The neurotrophin family consists of nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin 3 (NT3) and neurotrophin 4/5 (NT4/5), in addition to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the neuronal growth factors, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and vasointestinal peptide (VIP). Although there are a few literature reviews, mainly of animal studies, on the importance of neurotrophins in the ovary, we aimed to provide a complete review of neurotrophins as well as neuronal growth factors and their important roles in normal and pathological processes in the ovary. Follicular assembly is probably stimulated by complementary effects of NGF, NT4/5 and BDNF and their receptors. The neurotrophins, GDNF and VIP and their receptors have all been identified in preantral and antral follicles of mammalian species, including humans. Transgenic mice with mutations in the genes encoding for Ngf, Nt4/5 and Bdnf and their tropomyosin-related kinase β receptor showed a reduction in preantral follicles and an abnormal ovarian morphology, whereas NGF, NT3, GDNF and VIP increased the in vitro activation of primordial follicles in rats and goats. Additionally, NGF, NT3 and GDNF promoted follicular cell proliferation; NGF, BDNF and VIP were shown to be involved in ovulation; VIP inhibited follicular apoptosis; NT4/5, BDNF and GDNF promoted oocyte maturation and NGF, NT3 and VIP stimulated steroidogenesis. NGF may also exert a stimulatory effect in ovarian cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Low levels of NGF and BDNF in follicular fluid may be associated with diminished ovarian reserve and high levels with endometriosis. More knowledge of the roles of neuronal growth factors in the ovary has important implications for the development of new therapeutic drugs (such as anti-NGF agents) for ovarian cancer and PCOS as well as various infertility problems, warranting further research.

Hillis J, O'Dwyer M, Gorman AM
Neurotrophins and B-cell malignancies.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016; 73(1):41-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurotrophins and their receptors act as important proliferative and pro-survival factors in a variety of cell types. Neurotrophins are produced by multiple cell types in both pro- and mature forms, and can act in an autocrine or paracrine fashion. The p75(NTR) and Trk receptors can elicit signalling in response to the presence or absence of their corresponding neurotrophin ligands. This signalling, along with neurotrophin and receptor expression, varies between different cell types. Neurotrophins and their receptors have been shown to be expressed by and elicit signalling in B lymphocytes. In general, most neurotrophins are expressed by activated B-cells and memory B-cells. Likewise, the TrkB95 receptor is seen on activated B-cells, while TrkA and p75(NTR) are expressed by both resting and active B-cells as well as memory B-cells. Nerve growth factor stimulates B-cell proliferation, memory B-cell survival, antibody production and CD40 expression. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is involved in B-cell maturation in the bone marrow through TrkB95. Overall neurotrophins and their receptors have been shown to be involved in B-cell proliferation, development, differentiation, antibody secretion and survival. As well as expression and activity in healthy B-cells, the neurotrophins and their receptors can contribute to B-cell malignancies including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Burkitt's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. They are involved in B-cell malignancy survival and potentially in drug resistance.

Barratt DT, Klepstad P, Dale O, et al.
Innate Immune Signalling Genetics of Pain, Cognitive Dysfunction and Sickness Symptoms in Cancer Pain Patients Treated with Transdermal Fentanyl.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0137179 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
Common adverse symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy are a major health burden; chief among these is pain, with opioids including transdermal fentanyl the mainstay of treatment. Innate immune activation has been implicated generally in pain, opioid analgesia, cognitive dysfunction, and sickness type symptoms reported by cancer patients. We aimed to determine if genetic polymorphisms in neuroimmune activation pathways alter the serum fentanyl concentration-response relationships for pain control, cognitive dysfunction, and other adverse symptoms, in cancer pain patients. Cancer pain patients (468) receiving transdermal fentanyl were genotyped for 31 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 19 genes: CASP1, BDNF, CRP, LY96, IL6, IL1B, TGFB1, TNF, IL10, IL2, TLR2, TLR4, MYD88, IL6R, OPRM1, ARRB2, COMT, STAT6 and ABCB1. Lasso and backward stepwise generalised linear regression were used to identify non-genetic and genetic predictors, respectively, of pain control (average Brief Pain Inventory < 4), cognitive dysfunction (Mini-Mental State Examination ≤ 23), sickness response and opioid adverse event complaint. Serum fentanyl concentrations did not predict between-patient variability in these outcomes, nor did genetic factors predict pain control, sickness response or opioid adverse event complaint. Carriers of the MYD88 rs6853 variant were half as likely to have cognitive dysfunction (11/111) than wild-type patients (69/325), with a relative risk of 0.45 (95% CI: 0.27 to 0.76) when accounting for major non-genetic predictors (age, Karnofsky functional score). This supports the involvement of innate immune signalling in cognitive dysfunction, and identifies MyD88 signalling pathways as a potential focus for predicting and reducing the burden of cognitive dysfunction in cancer pain patients.

Ng T, Teo SM, Yeo HL, et al.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor genetic polymorphism (rs6265) is protective against chemotherapy-associated cognitive impairment in patients with early-stage breast cancer.
Neuro Oncol. 2016; 18(2):244-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin that regulates neuronal function and development, is implicated in several neurodegenerative conditions. Preliminary data suggest that a reduction of BDNF concentrations may lead to postchemotherapy cognitive impairment. We hypothesized that a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs6265) of the BDNF gene may predispose patients to cognitive impairment. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of BDNF gene polymorphism on chemotherapy-associated cognitive impairment.
METHODS: Overall, 145 patients receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer (mean age: 50.8 ± 8.8 y; 82.1% Chinese) were recruited. Patients' cognitive functions were assessed longitudinally using the validated Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function (v.3) and an objective computerized tool, Headminder. Genotyping was performed using Sanger sequencing. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and cognition after adjusting for ethnicity and clinically important covariates.
RESULTS: Of the 145 patients, 54 (37%) reported cognitive impairment postchemotherapy. The Met/Met genotype was associated with statistically significant lower odds of developing cognitive impairment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.08-0.92; P = .036). The Met carriers were less likely to experience impairment in the domains of verbal fluency (OR = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.12-0.90; P = .031) and multitasking ability (OR = 0.37; 95% CI: 0.15-0.91; P = .030) compared with the Val/Val homozygote. No associations were observed between Headminder and the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to provide evidence that carriers of the BDNF Met allele are protected against chemotherapy-associated cognitive impairment. Further studies are required to validate the findings.

Sen A, Nelson TJ, Alkon DL
ApoE4 and Aβ Oligomers Reduce BDNF Expression via HDAC Nuclear Translocation.
J Neurosci. 2015; 35(19):7538-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) is a major genetic risk factor for several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Epigenetic dysregulation, including aberrations in histone acetylation, is also associated with AD. We show here for the first time that ApoE4 increases nuclear translocation of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in human neurons, thereby reducing BDNF expression, whereas ApoE3 increases histone 3 acetylation and upregulates BDNF expression. Amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers, which have been implicated in AD, caused effects similar to ApoE4. Blocking low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP-1) receptor with receptor-associated protein (RAP) or LRP-1 siRNA abolished the ApoE effects. ApoE3 also induced expression of protein kinase C ε (PKCε) and PKCε retained HDACs in the cytosol. PKCε activation and ApoE3 supplementation prevented ApoE4-mediated BDNF downregulation. PKCε activation also reversed Aβ oligomer- and ApoE4-induced nuclear import of HDACs, preventing the loss in BDNF. ApoE4 induced HDAC6-BDNF promoter IV binding, which reduced BDNF exon IV expression. Nuclear HDAC4 and HDAC6 were more abundant in the hippocampus of ApoE4 transgenic mice than in ApoE3 transgenic mice or wild-type controls. Nuclear translocation of HDA6 was also elevated in the hippocampus of AD patients compared with age-matched controls. These results provide new insight into the cause of synaptic loss that is the most important pathologic correlate of cognitive deficits in AD.

Liu H, Yin W, Liu B, et al.
Screening of candidate genes in fibroblasts derived from patients with Dupuytren's contracture using bioinformatics analysis.
Rheumatol Int. 2015; 35(8):1343-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our study aimed to identify candidate genes associated with Dupuytren's contracture (DC) and elucidate their roles in DC development. The microarray data of GSE21221 were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus database, including six samples from carpal tunnel-derived fibroblasts and six samples from DC-derived fibroblasts. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in DC samples were screened using limma package. GO annotation and KEGG pathway analyses were performed by DAVID online tool. Protein-protein interaction network and expression correlation network were constructed to identify crucial relationships between DEGs. Finally, candidate DC-associated genes were predicted based on comparative toxicogenomics database. A total of 529 DEGs (138 up- and 391 down-regulated) in DC-derived fibroblasts were screened and compared with carpal tunnel-derived fibroblasts. Only ten DC-associated genes, such as neurotrophin 3 (NTF3) and protein kinase C, epsilon (PRKCE), were further screened. In addition, NTF3 was significantly enriched in MAPK signaling pathway, in which other DEGs, such as nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 1 (NR4A1), fibroblast growth factor 22 (FGF22) and BDNF, were enriched. Besides, NTF3 could co-express with fibrillin 2 (FBN2), and PRKCE could co-express with zinc finger protein 516 (ZNF516), solute carrier organic anion transporter family, member 2A1 (SLCO2A1), chromosome 10 open reading frame 10 (C10orf10) and Kelch domain containing 7A (KLHDC7A). Our study indicates that these DEGs, including NTF3, FBN2, NR4A1, FGF22, BDNF, PRKCE, ZNF516, SLCO2A1, C10orf10 and KLHDC7A, may play important roles in DC development and serve as candidate molecular targets for treating DC.

Yan H, Wu W, Ge H, et al.
Up-Regulation of miR-204 Enhances Anoikis Sensitivity in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Cell Line Via Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Pathway In Vitro.
Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2015; 25(6):944-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Genomic loci encoding miR-204, which was predicted to target brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), were frequently lost in multiple cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). In this study, we aimed to find out the influence of miR-204 expression level on EOC cell anoikis sensitivity and to explore possible mechanisms of this process.
METHODS: First, we screened EOC cells, which maintain anoikis resistance forming an anoikis pattern. miR-204 expression level and apoptosis were measured, respectively, by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Annexin-V-R-PE/7-amino-actinomycin assay. Then we restored the expression level of miR-204 by transfection with pre-miR-204. miR-204 expression level and apoptosis were measured as before; cell invasion and migration ability were detected by transwell invasion assay and wound-healing assay. The messenger RNA level of BDNF was also detected by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction; Western blot analysis was performed to assess pAKT expression.
RESULTS: Expression of miR-204 is significantly down-regulated in an anoikis pattern. Restored expression level of miR-204 enables cells to acquire more sensitivity to anoikis and decrease invasive and metastatic behavior, and also results in BDNF down-expression and inhibits activation of mitochondria-dependent pathway through the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway leading to cancer cell anoikis in EOC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: miR-204 up-regulation may be linked directly to the sensitivity of EOC cell anoikis by contributing to BDNF down-regulation. Our findings provide a novel mechanism for manipulating miR-204 levels therapeutically to restore anoikis sensitivity.

Kim JM, Kang HJ, Kim SY, et al.
BDNF promoter methylation associated with suicidal ideation in patients with breast cancer.
Int J Psychiatry Med. 2015; 49(1):75-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been considered a risk factor for suicidality. BDNF secretion is influenced by epigenetic (DNA methylation) and genetic (val66met polymorphism) profiles. We aimed to investigate the independent effects of BDNF promoter methylation status on suicidal ideation as well as the effects of its interaction with the val66met polymorphism in patients with breast cancer.
METHODS: A total of279 patients with breast cancer were evaluated 1 week after breast surgery, and 244 (87%) were followed up 1 year later. Suicidal ideation was identified using the item addressing suicidal thoughts on the Beck Depression Inventory. The independent effects of BDNF methylation status on suicidal ideation at two points was investigated using multivariable logistic regression models. The two-way interactive effects of BDNF methylation status and the val66met polymorphism on suicidal ideation were also estimated using the same models.
RESULTS: Increased BDNF methylation was significantly associated with suicidal ideation and depression 1 year after breast surgery, and this association was independent of potential covariates, including previous depression, current depressive symptoms, and BDNF genotype. No significant methylation-genotype interactions were found.
CONCLUSIONS: The BDNF hypothesis and the epigenetic origin of suicidality in patients with breast cancer were supported. BDNF gene methylation status may be a biological marker for suicidality in patients with breast cancer.

Lee RH, Shin JC, Kim KH, et al.
Apoptotic effects of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone in human oral squamous cancer cells through suppression of Sp1.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(2):631-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
7,8-Dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is a member of the flavonoid family and has recently been identified as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor mimetic that selectively activates tropomyosin-receptor kinase B with high affinity. The antioxidant and anticancer effects of 7,8-DHF have been reported. However, the pharmacological mechanisms of 7,8-DHF in oral cancer are unclear. Thus, we investigated the mechanisms of the antiproliferative action of 7,8-DHF on HN22 and HSC4 oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. We demonstrated that 7,8-DHF decreased cell growth and induced apoptosis in the HN22 and HSC4 cells through regulation of specificity protein 1 (Sp1) using the MTS assay, DAPI staining, Annexin V, propidium iodide staining, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, immunocytochemistry, pull-down assay and western blot analysis. The results showed that the Sp1 protein bound with 7,8-DHF in the HN22 and HSC4 cells. Taken together, the results suggest that 7,8-DHF could modulate Sp1 transactivation and induce apoptotic cell death by regulating the cell cycle and suppressing antiapoptotic proteins. Furthermore, 7,8-DHF may be valuable for cancer prevention and better clinical outcomes.

Gur S, Sikka SC, Kadowitz PJ, et al.
2015 update of erectile dysfunction management following radical prostatectomy: from basic research to clinical management.
Curr Pharm Des. 2015; 21(11):1440-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Radical prostatectomy (RP) is the most commonly employed curative intervention for the treatment of prostate cancer. However, due to the proximity of the cavernous nerves (CN) to the prostate, RP results in transient and/often permanent erectile dysfunction (ED). While the prevention of traction injuries during the RP is critical for the preservation of erectile function, several preclinical studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of neuroprotective (or neuroregenerative) agents in mitigating neuronal injuries sustained during RP. The maintenance or restoration of erectile function after injury may be enhanced in the postoperative period by the stimulation of neurogenesis to protect and restore injured nerves from further deterioration. The present review aims to evaluate and summarize research of these treatment strategies as published in the National Library of Medicine (Pubmed) from 2000 to 2015. The keywords used for the search were ED, RP, CN injury, immunophilin ligands, neurotrophins and phosphodiesterase (PDE)5 inhibitors, and animal models. Current guidelines for treatment targeting CN recovery recommend the use of immunophilin ligands, neurotrophins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, sonic hedgehog (Shh), Rho-kinase, PDE5 inhibitors, erythropoietin (EPO), hyperbaric oxygen, gene, stem cells, and triiodothyronine (T3) therapy. Additionally, this review identifies remaining gaps in general knowledge and recent updates recognizing the need for further preclinical and clinical trials.

Alonso-Alconada L, Eritja N, Muinelo-Romay L, et al.
ETV5 transcription program links BDNF and promotion of EMT at invasive front of endometrial carcinomas.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(12):2679-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myometrial infiltration represents a main clinical determinant of endometrial carcinomas (EC) presenting as aggressive high-grade deeply invasive neoplasms, substantially associated with risk of recurrence and death. The up-regulation of ETV5 transcription factor linked to the promotion of epithelial to mesenchymal transition is considered as a basic mechanism underlying the initial steps of EC invasion. In this work, we aimed to investigate the transcription program of tumor invasion regulated by ETV5. We performed a comparative Chip-on-chip analysis at invasive front and superficial area of human EC. ETV5 specific binding to promoter regions of genes related to cellular migration, adhesion and invasion at deep invasion tumor areas highlighted the relevance of neural networks associated with cellular plasticity. Interestingly, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) demonstrated a principal role orchestrating ETV5-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in endometrial cancer. Impairment of the BDNF/tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase axis in endometrial cancer cell lines reversed the aggressive and invasive phenotype promoted by the up-regulation of ETV5 at the invasive front of EC. Likewise, BDNF directly impacted on the efficiency of ETV5 promoted metastasis in a mice model of endometrial distant dissemination. These results translate the recognized role of BDNF/TrkB on neural plasticity into a relevant cancer metastasis event; suggest common mechanisms shared by neural development and tumor invasion; and offer new therapeutic opportunities specifically directed against disseminated disease in endometrial cancer.

Lin CY, Hung SY, Chen HT, et al.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor increases vascular endothelial growth factor expression and enhances angiogenesis in human chondrosarcoma cells.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2014; 91(4):522-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chondrosarcomas are a type of primary malignant bone cancer, with a potent capacity for local invasion and distant metastasis. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is commonly upregulated during neurogenesis. The aim of the present study was to examine the mechanism involved in BDNF-mediated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and angiogenesis in human chondrosarcoma cells. Here, we knocked down BDNF expression in chondrosarcoma cells and assessed their capacity to control VEGF expression and angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. We found knockdown of BDNF decreased VEGF expression and abolished chondrosarcoma conditional medium-mediated angiogenesis in vitro as well as angiogenesis effects in vivo in the chick chorioallantoic membrane and Matrigel plug nude mouse models. In addition, in the xenograft tumor angiogenesis model, the knockdown of BDNF significantly reduced tumor growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis. BDNF increased VEGF expression and angiogenesis through the TrkB receptor, PLCγ, PKCα, and the HIF-1α signaling pathway. Finally, we analyzed samples from chondrosarcoma patients by immunohistochemical staining. The expression of BDNF and VEGF protein in 56 chondrosarcoma patients was significantly higher than in normal cartilage. In addition, the high level of BDNF expression correlated strongly with VEGF expression and tumor stage. Taken together, our results indicate that BDNF increases VEGF expression and enhances angiogenesis through a signal transduction pathway that involves the TrkB receptor, PLCγ, PKCα, and the HIF-1α. Therefore, BDNF may represent a novel target for anti-angiogenic therapy for human chondrosarcoma.

Croce N, Bernardini S, Caltagirone C, Angelucci F
Lithium/Valproic acid combination and L-glutamate induce similar pattern of changes in the expression of miR-30a-5p in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells.
Neuromolecular Med. 2014; 16(4):872-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
It has been proposed that Lithium (Li) and valproic acid (VPA) may be useful to treat neurodegenerative disorders because they protect neurons against excitotoxic insults both in vitro and in vivo models. Moreover, these two drugs may exert their effects by regulating microRNAs (miRNAs), single-stranded and non-coding RNAs able to control gene expression. A subset of the miR-30a family (miR-30a-5p) is involved in the fine-tuning of neuroprotective molecules such as the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Thus, there is the possibility that Li and VPA may alter miR-30a-5p and in turn affect BDNF production. However, data on miR-30a-5p levels in presence of Li and VPA and/or a neurotoxic insult are not yet available. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate whether exposure to Li and VPA may influence miR-30a-5p expression in an in vitro model of neurodegeneration generated by the exposure of a human neuroblastoma cell line (SH-SY5Y) to neurotoxic concentration of L-glutamate. The results showed that both L-glutamate and Li-VPA caused an increase in miR-30a-5p expression at 24 h of incubation and a decrease at 48 h. Moreover, Li-VPA alone caused a decrease in miR-30a-5p expression also in cells not exposed to the toxic effect of glutamate. These data indicate that changes in miR-30a-5p expression induced by Li-VPA are not related to the cytoprotective action of BDNF and suggest alternative function for this miR. These findings also indicate that miRNA changes are present in in vitro models of neurodegeneration, although the significance of these changes warrants further investigation.

Paul BT, Blanchard Z, Ridgway M, ElShamy WM
BRCA1-IRIS inactivation sensitizes ovarian tumors to cisplatin.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(23):3036-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is the first in mortalities among gynecologic cancers in the United States, often due to late diagnosis and/or acquired platinum-resistant recurrences. This study investigates whether BRCA1-IRIS is a novel treatment target for ovarian cancers and in platinum-resistant recurrences. Here we show that more than half of the ovarian cancer samples analyzed showed BRCA1-IRIS and survivin overexpression and lacked nuclear FOXO3a expression. Normal ovarian epithelial cells overexpressing BRCA1-IRIS formed metastasis in mice when injected in the peritoneal cavity, whereas aggressive ovarian cancer cell lines failed to form tumors or metastases in mice when BRCA1-IRIS was silenced in them. We show that BRCA1-IRIS activates two autocrine signaling loops, brain-derived neurotrophic factor/tyrosine kinase B receptor (BDNF/TrkB) and neuregulin 1 (NRG1)/ErbB2. These loops are involved in anoikis resistance and metastasis promotion. These loops operate in several ovarian cancer cell lines, and BRCA1-IRIS silencing or inactivation using a novel inhibitory peptide renders both non-functional and promoted cell death. In a mouse xenograft model, BRCA1-IRIS inactivation using this novel inhibitory peptide resulted in significant reduction in ovarian tumor growth. More importantly, this treatment sensitized ovarian tumors to low cisplatin concentrations. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that BRCA1-IRIS and/or BDNF/TrkB and NRG1/ErbB2 could serve as rational therapeutic targets for advanced ovarian cancers.

Czarnecka M, Trinh E, Lu C, et al.
Neuropeptide Y receptor Y5 as an inducible pro-survival factor in neuroblastoma: implications for tumor chemoresistance.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(24):3131-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a pediatric tumor of neural crest origin with heterogeneous phenotypes. Although low-stage tumors carry a favorable prognosis, >50% of high-risk NB relapses after treatment with a fatal outcome. Thus developing therapies targeting refractory NB remains an unsolved clinical problem. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its TrkB receptor are known to protect NB cells from chemotherapy-induced cell death, while neuropeptide Y (NPY), acting via its Y2 receptor (Y2R), is an autocrine proliferative and angiogenic factor crucial for maintaining NB tumor growth. Here we show that in NB cells, BDNF stimulates the synthesis of NPY and induces expression of another one of its receptors, Y5R. In human NB tissues, the expression of NPY and Y5R positively correlated with the expression of BDNF and TrkB. Functionally, BDNF triggered Y5R internalization in NB cells, whereas Y5R antagonist inhibited BDNF-induced p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and its pro-survival activity. These observations suggested TrkB-Y5R transactivation that resulted in cross-talk between their signaling pathways. Additionally, NPY and Y5R were upregulated in a BDNF-independent manner in NB cells under pro-apoptotic conditions, such as serum deprivation and chemotherapy, as well as in cell lines and tissues derived from posttreatment NB tumors. Blocking Y5R in chemoresistant NB cells rich in this receptor sensitized them to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis and inhibited their growth in vivo by augmenting cell death. In summary, the NPY/Y5R axis is an inducible survival pathway activated in NB by BDNF or cellular stress. Upon such activation, Y5R augments the pro-survival effect of BDNF via its interactions with TrkB receptor and exerts an additional BDNF-independent anti-apoptotic effect, both of which contribute to NB chemoresistance. Therefore, the NPY/Y5R pathway may become a novel therapeutic target for patients with refractory NB, thus far an incurable form of this disease.

Revilla S, Ursulet S, Álvarez-López MJ, et al.
Lenti-GDNF gene therapy protects against Alzheimer's disease-like neuropathology in 3xTg-AD mice and MC65 cells.
CNS Neurosci Ther. 2014; 20(11):961-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is emerging as a potent neurotrophic factor with therapeutic potential against a range of neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer's disease (AD). We assayed the effects of GDNF treatment in AD experimental models through gene-therapy procedures.
METHODS: Recombinant lentiviral vectors were used to overexpress GDNF gene in hippocampal astrocytes of 3xTg-AD mice in vivo, and also in the MC65 human neuroblastoma that conditionally overexpresses the 99-residue carboxyl-terminal (C99) fragment of the amyloid precursor protein.
RESULTS: After 6 months of overexpressing GDNF, 10-month-old 3xTg-AD mice showed preserved learning and memory, while their counterparts transduced with a green fluorescent protein vector showed cognitive loss. GDNF therapy did not significantly reduce amyloid and tau pathology, but rather, induced a potent upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor that may act in concert with GDNF to protect neurons from atrophy and degeneration. MC65 cells overexpressing GDNF showed an abolishment of oxidative stress and cell death that was at least partially mediated by a reduced presence of intracellular C99 and derived amyloid β oligomers.
CONCLUSIONS: GDNF induced neuroprotection in the AD experimental models used. Lentiviral vectors engineered to overexpress GDNF showed to be safe and effective, both as a potential gene therapy and as a tool to uncover the mechanisms of GDNF neuroprotection, including cross talk between astrocytes and neurons in the injured brain.

Paterniti I, Cordaro M, Campolo M, et al.
Neuroprotection by association of palmitoylethanolamide with luteolin in experimental Alzheimer's disease models: the control of neuroinflammation.
CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014; 13(9):1530-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. Its neuropathological hallmarks include deposition of beta amyloid (Aβ) fibrils in senile plaques. Numerous biochemical events, leading to Aβ neurotoxicity in AD, have been proposed and it seems that neuroinflammation plays a prominent role among these. Thus, since inflammatory processes and oxidative stress are considered to play an important role in neuroinflammatory disorders and in AD pathology, in the present work we decided to test a new composite, which is a formulation constituted of an anti-inflammatory compound such as palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and the well recognized antioxidant flavonoid luteolin (Lut), subjected to an ultra-micronization process, here designated co-ultraPEALut. We investigated the effect of co-ultraPEALut in both an in vitro and ex vivo organotypic model of AD. For the in vitro model, we used human neuronal cells, obtained by differentiating SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells into sustainable neuronal morphology. These well differentiated cells express features specific to mature neurons, such as synaptic structures and functional axonal vesicle transport, making this new concept for in vitro differentiation valuable for many neuroscientific research areas, including AD. Differentiated SH-SY5Y cells were pre-treated with co-ultraPEALut (reference concentrations: 27, 2.7 and 0.27 µM PEA) for 2 h. AD features were induced by Aβ₁₋₄₂ stimulation (1 µM). Twenty-four hours later cell vitality was evaluated by the colorimetric MTT assay, whereas the neuroinflammation underling AD was observed by Western blot analysis for IκBα degradation and nuclear factor-κB traslocation, as well as glial fibrillary acidic protein expression. For the organotypic model of AD, hippocampal slice cultures were prepared from mice at postnatal day 6 and after 21 days of culturing the slices were pre-treated with co-ultraPEALut (reference concentrations: 27, 2.7 and 0.27 µM PEA) for 2 h and then incubated with Aβ₁₋₄₂ (1 µg/ml) for 24 h. Pre-treatment with co-ultraPEALut significantly reduced inducible nitric oxide synthase and glial fibrillary acidic protein expression, restored neuronal nitric oxide synthase and brainderived neurotrophic factor and reduced the apoptosis. Taken together our results clearly showed that co-ultraPEALut is able to blunt Aβ-induced astrocyte activation and to exert a marked protective effect on glial cells. These findings suggest that the association of co-ultraPEALut may provide an effective strategy for AD.

Huth L, Rose M, Kloubert V, et al.
BDNF is associated with SFRP1 expression in luminal and basal-like breast cancer cell lines and primary breast cancer tissues: a novel role in tumor suppression?
PLoS One. 2014; 9(7):e102558 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
Secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) functions as an important inhibitor of the Wnt pathway and is a known tumor suppressor gene, which is epigenetically silenced in a variety of tumors e.g. in breast cancer. However, it is still unclear how SFRP1 exactly affects the Wnt pathway. Our aim was to decipher SFRP1 involvement in biochemical signaling in dependency of different breast cancer subtypes and to identify novel SFRP1-regulated genes. We generated SFRP1 over-expressing in vitro breast cancer models, reflecting the two major subtypes by using basal-like BT20 and luminal-like HER2-positive SKBR3 cells. DNA microarray expression profiling of these models revealed that SFRP1 expression potentially modulates Bone morphogenetic protein- and Smoothened signaling (p<0.01), in addition to the known impact on Wnt signaling. Importantly, further statistical analysis revealed that in dependency of the cancer subtype model SFRP1 may affect the canonical and non-canonical Wnt pathway (p<0.01), respectively. While SFRP1 re-expression generally mediated distinct patterns of transcriptionally induced or repressed genes in BT20 and SKBR3 cells, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was identified as a SFRP1 induced gene in both cell lines. Although BDNF has been postulated as a putative oncogene, the co-regulation with SFRP1 indicates a potential suppressive function in breast cancer. Indeed, a positive correlation between SFRP1 and BDNF protein expression could be shown (p<0.001) in primary breast cancer samples. Moreover, TCGA dataset based analysis clearly underscores that BDNF mRNA is down-regulated in primary breast cancer samples predicting a poor prognosis of these patients. In line, we functionally provide evidence that stable BDNF re-expression in basal-like BT20 breast cancer cells blocks tumor cell proliferation. Hence, our results suggest that BDNF might rather mediate suppressive than promoting function in human breast cancer whose mode of action should be addressed in future studies.

Sinkevicius KW, Kriegel C, Bellaria KJ, et al.
Neurotrophin receptor TrkB promotes lung adenocarcinoma metastasis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(28):10299-304 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
Lung cancer is notorious for its ability to metastasize, but the pathways regulating lung cancer metastasis are largely unknown. An in vitro system designed to discover factors critical for lung cancer cell migration identified brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates cell migration through activation of tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB; also called NTRK2). Knockdown of TrkB in human lung cancer cell lines significantly decreased their migratory and metastatic ability in vitro and in vivo. In an autochthonous lung adenocarcinoma model driven by activated oncogenic Kras and p53 loss, TrkB deficiency significantly reduced metastasis. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 directly regulated TrkB expression, and, in turn, TrkB activated Akt signaling in metastatic lung cancer cells. Finally, TrkB expression was correlated with metastasis in patient samples, and TrkB was detected more often in tumors that did not have Kras or epidermal growth factor receptor mutations. These studies demonstrate that TrkB is an important therapeutic target in metastatic lung adenocarcinoma.

Koh MJ, Jeung HC, Namkoong K, et al.
Influence of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on coping response to stress in patients with advanced gastric cancer.
J Psychosom Res. 2014; 77(1):76-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Coping with cancer is an important determinant of psychological morbidity, quality of life, and treatment adherence in cancer patients. The aim of this study was to elucidate the association between the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism and coping response to stress in patients diagnosed with advanced gastric cancer.
METHODS: Ninety-one subjects (60 males, 31 females) recently diagnosed with advanced gastric cancer were recruited. Coping style and distress level were examined using the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer (Mini-MAC) scale and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and genotyping was evaluated. To examine the temporal stability of the Mini-MAC scores, a 6-week follow-up evaluation was conducted in 72 patients, after completion of two chemotherapy cycles.
RESULTS: Coping style to cancer significantly differed between the Met carriers of BDNF Val66Met and the Val/Val homozygotes. The Met carriers were significantly more anxious than the Val/Val homozygotes.
CONCLUSION: The present findings suggest that the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism may be involved in individual coping responses to cancer. The Met allele of BDNF Val66Met may be predictive of an anxious coping style in patients with advanced cancer.

Hill MJ, Donocik JG, Nuamah RA, et al.
Transcriptional consequences of schizophrenia candidate miR-137 manipulation in human neural progenitor cells.
Schizophr Res. 2014; 153(1-3):225-30 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2017 Related Publications
MIR137, transcribed as the microRNA miR-137, is one of the leading candidate schizophrenia susceptibility genes to arise from large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of the disorder. Recent data suggest that miR-137 modulates the expression of other schizophrenia susceptibility genes. Although bioinformatic resources are available with which to predict genes regulated by individual microRNA, there has been a lack of empirical data on genome-wide gene expression changes following miR-137 manipulation. We have therefore performed a genome-wide assessment of transcriptional changes in a human neural progenitor cell line after miR-137 over-expression and inhibition in order to elucidate molecular pathways by which genetic perturbation of miR-137 could promote susceptibility to schizophrenia. Bioinformatically-predicted miR-137 targets showed a small but highly significant down-regulation following miR-137 over-expression. Genes that were significantly down-regulated in association with miR-137 over-expression were enriched for involvement in neuronal differentiation. Differentially expressed genes that were confirmed by qPCR included others at genome-wide significant risk loci for schizophrenia (MAD1L1 and DPYD) and BDNF. These data point to molecular pathways through which genetic variation at the MIR137 locus could confer risk for schizophrenia.

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