Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 5, 2

7,8-dihydroxyflavone, a Small Molecular TrkB Agonist, Is Useful for Treating Various BDNF-implicated Human Disorders


7,8-dihydroxyflavone, a Small Molecular TrkB Agonist, Is Useful for Treating Various BDNF-implicated Human Disorders

Chaoyang Liu et al. Transl Neurodegener.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates a variety of biological processes predominantly via binding to the transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB. It is a potential therapeutic target in numerous neurological, mental and metabolic disorders. However, the lack of efficient means to deliver BDNF into the body imposes an insurmountable hurdle to its clinical application. To address this challenge, we initiated a cell-based drug screening to search for small molecules that act as the TrkB agonist. 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is our first reported small molecular TrkB agonist, which has now been extensively validated in various biochemical and cellular systems. Though binding to the extracellular domain of TrkB, 7,8-DHF triggers TrkB dimerization to induce the downstream signaling. Notably, 7,8-DHF is orally bioactive that can penetrate the brain blood barrier (BBB) to exert its neurotrophic activities in the central nervous system. Numerous reports suggest 7,8-DHF processes promising therapeutic efficacy in various animal disease models that are related to deficient BDNF signaling. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge on the binding activity and specificity, structure-activity relationship, pharmacokinetic and metabolism, and the pre-clinical efficacy of 7,8-DHF against some human diseases.

Keywords: BDNF; Flavonoids; Mimetic compound; Neurotrophin; Receptor agonistic activity.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Lewin GR. Neurotrophins and the specification of neuronal phenotype. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1996;351:405–411. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1996.0035. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Thoenen H, Zafra F, Hengerer B, Lindholm D. The synthesis of nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in hippocampal and cortical neurons is regulated by specific transmitter systems. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1991;640:86–90. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1991.tb00196.x. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Kaplan DR, Miller FD. Neurotrophin signal transduction in the nervous system. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2000;10:381–391. doi: 10.1016/S0959-4388(00)00092-1. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Huang EJ, Reichardt LF. Trk receptors: roles in neuronal signal transduction. Annu Rev Biochem. 2003;72:609–642. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.72.121801.161629. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Shelton DL, Sutherland J, Gripp J, Camerato T, Armanini MP, Phillips HS, et al. Human trks: molecular cloning, tissue distribution, and expression of extracellular domain immunoadhesins. J Neurosci Off J Soc Neurosci. 1995;15:477–91. - PMC - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources