Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the most studied neurotrophins in the healthy and diseased brain. As a result, there is a large body of evidence that associates BDNF with neuronal maintenance, neuronal survival, plasticity, and neurotransmitter regulation. Patients with psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders often have reduced BDNF concentrations in their blood and brain. A current hypothesis suggests that these abnormal BDNF levels might be due to the chronic inflammatory state of the brain in certain disorders, as neuroinflammation is known to affect several BDNF-related signaling pathways. Activation of glia cells can induce an increase in the levels of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, which can lead to the modulation of neuronal function and neurotoxicity observed in several brain pathologies. Understanding how neuroinflammation is involved in disorders of the brain, especially in the disease onset and progression, can be crucial for the development of new strategies of treatment. Despite the increasing evidence for the involvement of BDNF and neuroinflammation in brain disorders, there is scarce evidence that addresses the interaction between the neurotrophin and neuroinflammation in psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. This review focuses on the effect of acute and chronic inflammation on BDNF levels in the most common psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and aims to shed some light on the possible biological mechanisms that may influence this effect. In addition, this review will address the effect of behavior and pharmacological interventions on BDNF levels in these disorders.
Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Neuroinflammation; Neurological disorders; Neurotoxicity.