Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Growth Factors. 2004 Sep;22(3):123-31. doi: 10.1080/08977190410001723308.


Since the purification of BDNF in 1982, a great deal of evidence has mounted for its central roles in brain development, physiology, and pathology. Aside from its importance in neural development and cell survival, BDNF appears essential to molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. Basic activity-related changes in the central nervous system are thought to depend on BDNF modification of synaptic transmission, especially in the hippocampus and neocortex. Pathologic levels of BDNF-dependent synaptic plasticity may contribute to conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pain sensitization, whereas application of the trophic properties of BDNF may lead to novel therapeutic options in neurodegenerative diseases and perhaps even in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology*
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Models, Biological
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • RNA, Messenger