Thyroid hormones play an important role in brain development, but the mechanism(s) by which tri-iodothyronine (T3) mediates neuronal differentiation is poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that T3 regulates the neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), in developing rat cerebellar granule cells both in cell culture and in vivo. In situ hybridization experiments showed that developing Purkinje cells do not express NT-3 mRNA but do express trkC, the putative neuronal receptor for NT-3. Addition of recombinant NT-3 to cerebellar cultures from embryonic rat brain induces hypertrophy and neurite sprouting of Purkinje cells, and upregulates the mRNA encoding the calcium-binding protein, calbindin-28 kD. The present study demonstrates a novel interaction between cerebellar granule neurons and developing Purkinje cells in which NT-3 induced by T3 in the granule cells promotes Purkinje cell differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology