Interaction between BDNF and serotonin: role in mood disorders

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Jan;33(1):73-83. doi: 10.1038/sj.npp.1301571. Epub 2007 Sep 19.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) are two seemingly distinct signaling systems that play regulatory roles in many neuronal functions including survival, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. A common feature of the two systems is their ability to regulate the development and plasticity of neural circuits involved in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. BDNF promotes the survival and differentiation of 5-HT neurons. Conversely, administration of antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) enhances BDNF gene expression. There is also evidence for synergism between the two systems in affective behaviors and genetic epitasis between BDNF and the serotonin transporter genes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / genetics
  • Mood Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mood Disorders / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Serotonin / genetics
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Serotonin