Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Central Nervous System Myelination: A New Mechanism to Promote Myelin Plasticity and Repair

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Dec 19;19(12):4131. doi: 10.3390/ijms19124131.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays vitally important roles in neural development and plasticity in both health and disease. Recent studies using mutant mice to selectively manipulate BDNF signalling in desired cell types, in combination with animal models of demyelinating disease, have demonstrated that BDNF not only potentiates normal central nervous system myelination in development but enhances recovery after myelin injury. However, the precise mechanisms by which BDNF enhances myelination in development and repair are unclear. Here, we review some of the recent progress made in understanding the influence BDNF exerts upon the myelinating process during development and after injury, and discuss the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying its effects. In doing so, we raise new questions for future research.

Keywords: BDNF; TrkB; myelination; neurotrophin; oligodendrocyte.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism*
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Receptor, trkB