Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), one of the key brain neurotrophins, has been implicated in neuronal plasticity and memory. Recent studies document the importance of BDNF for normal long-term memory functions. However, there are few studies of the roles of BDNF in short-term memory. Dopamine is likely to play important roles in BDNF gene expression in specific brain regions, including frontal cortical regions that are implicated in short-term working memory processes that include spontaneous alternation. We have thus tested spatial working memory in dopamine transporter knockout (DAT KO) and wild-type mice. Spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze, an index of short-term spatial working memory in mice, was significantly decreased in DAT KO mice compared to wild-type mice. BDNF protein was significantly decreased in frontal cortex, though not in striatum or hippocampus, of the DAT KO mice. The data support the hypothesis that impaired spatial working memory in DAT KO mice may be related to decreased frontal cortical BDNF in these animals, and document apparent roles for BDNF in a short-term memory process.
- (Dopamine transporter knockout (DAT KO) mouse)
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
- Frontal cortex
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