BDNF-based synaptic repair as a disease-modifying strategy for neurodegenerative diseases

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 Jun;14(6):401-16. doi: 10.1038/nrn3505. Epub 2013 May 15.


Increasing evidence suggests that synaptic dysfunction is a key pathophysiological hallmark in neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. Understanding the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in synaptic plasticity and synaptogenesis, the impact of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism in Alzheimer's disease-relevant endophenotypes - including episodic memory and hippocampal volume - and the technological progress in measuring synaptic changes in humans all pave the way for a 'synaptic repair' therapy for neurodegenerative diseases that targets pathophysiology rather than pathogenesis. This article reviews the key issues in translating BDNF biology into synaptic repair therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurogenesis / genetics
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / physiology
  • Receptor, trkB / agonists
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Receptor, trkB