In humans, several pathologies are associated with disturbances of the respiratory control, some of them including alteration in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signalling pathway. BDNF has long been known as a neurotrophic factor involved in survival, differentiation and maintenance of neuronal populations in the peripheral and central nervous system. More recently BDNF has also been discovered to be a potent neuromodulator with acute effects on neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity. Animals deleted for the gene encoding BDNF exhibit respiratory alteration suggesting an important but yet undefined role of the neurotrophin in respiratory rhythmogenesis either by a trophic and/or an acute action. The possibility that BDNF might exert an acute regulatory role on the rhythmic activity of the respiratory generator of the pre-Bötzinger complex has been recently examined in newborn mice in vitro. Results obtained, reviewed in the present paper, will help getting insights in respiratory rhythm regulatory mechanisms that involve BDNF signalling.