Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Protein Expression and Distribution in Skeletal Muscle of Mice and Rats
Neurotrophic factors are crucial to the development, function, and survival of neurons. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is considered the most potent survival factor for motor neurons and functions as a target-derived neurotrophic factor for neurons innervating skeletal muscle. Loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, which typically occurs with aging, has been linked to GDNF deficiencies. Treatment of aged neurons with neurotrophic factor has been shown to contribute significantly to restoring neurite growth and neuronal survival to the levels observed in younger neurons, particularly overexpression of GDNF at the neuromuscular junction. Neuromuscular junctions connect the muscular system to the nervous system via synapses between muscle fibers and nerve fibers. Overexpression of GDNF increases the number of healthy motor axons and also induces end-plate formation; thus, it is a powerful candidate for potential treatment of skeletal muscle and nervous system problems. The present study sought to compare the extent and distribution of GDNF protein expression at the neuromuscular junction in mouse and rat skeletal tissue and also compare these findings between mouse and rat models.