• dendrite;
  • neuropil;
  • immunohistochemistry


Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) is a member of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily and plays important roles in multiple biological events. Although BMP2 expression has been well described in the early development of the central nervous system (CNS), little information is available on its expression in the adult CNS. We thus investigated BMP2 expression in the adult rat CNS by using immunohistochemistry. Here we show that BMP2 is widely expressed throughout the adult CNS. In addition, besides intense BMP2 expression in almost all neurons, we found BMP2 expression in astrocytes and ependymal cells. Interestingly, we found that the axons of olfactory sensory neurons express BMP2. In addition, in the glomerular layer, BMP2 was very strongly expressed in some glomeruli, whereas the other glomeruli were weakly stained, suggesting that the variations in BMP2 expression level in each glomerus might be cues for each axon to find its adequate target and to keep its identity. Furthermore, we compared the expression patterns of BMP2 and BMP4. Interestingly, BMP4 was preferentially expressed in the dendrites of several neurons, whereas BMP2 was basically not expressed in the dendrites; however, it was detected in the axons. This means that in a single neuron the localizations of BMP2 and BMP4 are differentially regulated. These data indicate that BMP2 is more widely expressed throughout the adult CNS than previously reported, and its continued abundant expression in the adult brain strongly supports the idea that BMP2 also plays pivotal roles in the adult brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 518:4513–4530, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.