Increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels and extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) signaling are associated with reduced brain injury after cerebral ischemia. In particular, mild hypothermia after cardiac arrest increases BDNF and ERK signaling. This study tested whether intracerebroventricular infusions (0.025 μg/h × 3 days) of BDNF also improved recovery of rats resuscitated from cardiac arrest and maintained at 37 °C. BDNF infusions initiated at the time of cardiac arrest did not alter survival, neurological recovery, or histological injury. Separate experiments confirmed that BDNF infusions increased tissue levels of BDNF. However, these infusions did not increase ERK activation in hippocampus. These data suggest that increased BDNF levels are not sufficient to explain the beneficial effects of mild hypothermia after cardiac arrest, and that exogenous BDNF administration does not increase extracellular ERK signaling. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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