New insights into the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in synaptic plasticity

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2009 Oct;42(2):81-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.06.009. Epub 2009 Jul 3.


Substantial evidence indicates that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a crucial role in synaptic plasticity. Long-lasting synaptic plasticity is restricted to active synapses and requires new protein synthesis. Recent work has identified local protein synthesis as an important source for new protein during the expression of enduring synaptic plasticity. This review discusses recent progress in understanding the mechanisms that restrict the action of BDNF to active synapses and by which BDNF mediates chemical and structural modifications of individual synapses, placing an emphasis on the role of local protein synthesis in these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Spines / ultrastructure
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism
  • Receptor, trkB / genetics
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Protein Precursors
  • Receptor, trkB