• neurotrophins;
  • trkB receptors;
  • in situ hybridization;
  • parvalbumin expression;
  • visual cortex


We analysed the distribution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor trkB in the adult rat visual cortex, paying particular attention to a GABAergic neuronal subpopulation—the parvalburnin-positive cells. We found expression of trkB in the cell body and apical dendrite of pyramidal neurons and in the cell body of non-pyramidal neurons. Double labelling experiments revealed extensive colocalization of parvalbumin and trkB immunoreactivity in non-pyramidal neurons. Interestingly, the trkB-positive pyramidal neurons appeared surrounded by parvalbumin-labelled boutons. The use of double immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization histochemistry showed that parvalbumin-positive neurons express trkB mRNA. BDNF rnRNA was found in several cells. Coexpression of BDNF mRNA and parvalbumin immunoreactivity was extremely rare. These data strongly suggest that BDNF synthesized by cortical neurons acts as a postsynaptically derived factor for parvalbumin-positive neurons in the adult rat visual cortex.