Neurotrophin regulation of synaptic transmission

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1999 Feb;9(1):105-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(99)80013-0.


Examples of signaling molecules that are devoted to neuronal development at the exclusion of other functions are scarce. It may then come as no surprise to learn that a family of molecules that promote neuronal survival, differentiation and outgrowth also regulate synaptic transmission at both developing and mature synapses. Indeed, many studies over the past five years have shown that neurotrophins, including nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), NT-4/5 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), have both rapid and long-latency influences on synaptic strength. New research has highlighted the enormous range of neurotrophin actions at both developing and mature synapses, demonstrating that transmission can be enhanced or reduced at excitatory and inhibitory synapses by either pre- or postsynaptic mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factors