Potential therapeutic uses of BDNF in neurological and psychiatric disorders

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 Mar;10(3):209-19. doi: 10.1038/nrd3366.


The growth factor brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tropomyosin-related kinase receptor type B (TRKB) are actively produced and trafficked in multiple regions in the adult brain, where they influence neuronal activity, function and survival throughout life. The diverse presence and activity of BDNF suggests a potential role for this molecule in the pathogenesis and treatment of both neurological and psychiatric disorders. This article reviews the current understanding and future directions in BDNF-related research in the central nervous system, with an emphasis on the possible therapeutic application of BDNF in modifying fundamental processes underlying neural disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / administration & dosage
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Epigenomics
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy
  • Stroke / drug therapy


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor