BDNF-TrkB receptor regulation of distributed adult neural plasticity, memory formation, and psychiatric disorders

Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2014;122:169-92. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420170-5.00006-4.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its single transmembrane receptor, tropomysin-related kinase B (TrkB), are essential for adult synaptic plasticity and the formation of memories. However, there are regional and task-dependent differences underlying differential mechanisms of BDNF-TrkB function in the formation of these memories. Additionally, the BDNF pathway has been implicated in several psychiatric disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder, phobia, and panic disorder. Gaining a better understanding of this pathway and the neurobiology of memory through fundamental research may be helpful to identify effective prevention and treatment approaches both for diseases of memory deficit as well as in cases of enhanced aversive memory, such as in anxiety disorders.

Keywords: Amygdala; BDNF; Fear; Hippocampus; LTP; Memory; PTSD; Prefrontal cortex; Synaptic plasticity; TrkB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Receptor, trkB / genetics
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Receptor, trkB