Expression and cellular distribution of high- and low-affinity neurotrophin receptors in malformations of cortical development

Eleonora Aronica*, Filiz Özbas-Gerčeker, Sandra Redeker, Marja Ramkema, Wim G.M. Spliet, Peter C. van Rijen, Sieger Leenstra, Jan A. Gorter, Dirk Troost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing number of observations suggests an important and complex role for both high- (tyrosine kinase receptor, trk) and low- (p75) affinity neurotrophin receptors (NTRs) during development in human brain. In the present study, the cell-specific distribution of NTRs was studied in different developmental lesions, including focal cortical dysplasia (FCD, n = 15), ganglioglioma (GG, n = 15) and dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors, (DNT, n = 10), from patients with medically intractable epilepsy. Lesional, perilesional, as well as normal brain regions were examined for the expression of trkA, trkB, trkC and p75NTR by immunocytochemistry. In normal postmortem human cortex, immunoreactivity (IR) for trk and p75NTR was mainly observed in pyramidal neurons, whereas no notable glial IR was found within the white matter. All three trk receptors were encountered in high levels in the neuronal component of the majority of FCD, GG and DNT specimens. Strong trkA, trkB and trkC IR was found in neurons of different size, including large dysplastic neurons and balloon cells in FCD cases. In contrast, p75NTR IR was observed in only a small number of neuronal cells, which also contain trk receptors. Glial cells with astrocytic morphology showed predominantly IR for trkA in FCD and GG specimens, whereas oligodendroglial-like cells in DNT showed predominently IR for trkB. P75NTR IR was observed in a population of cells of the microglial/macrophage lineage in both FCD and glioneuronal tumors. Taken together, our findings indicate that the neuronal and the glial components of malformations of cortical development express both high- and low-affinity NTRs. Further research is necessary to investigate how activation of these specific receptors could contribute to the development and the epileptogenicity of these developmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by the Stichting AZUA-funds (E. Aronica), National Epilepsy Fund ‘‘Power of the Small’’ and Hersenstichting Nederland (NEF 02-10; E. Aronica). F. Özbas-Gerceker was supported by European Science Foundation-Integrated Approaches for Functional Genomics Program (Exchange grant).


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