Previous studies have reported a neuromodulatory effect of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) on serotonin neurons in the central nervous system. In the present study, we examined the effects of local infusion of BDNF on the electrophysiological activity of serotonergic neurons in the rat dorsal raphé nucleus with extracellular single unit recording in vivo. Compared with vehicle-infused rats, chronic administration of BDNF (10-14 days) caused serotonergic neurons to fire in a significantly less regular pattern, without altering the mean firing rate or other measures of electrical activity. These results suggest that the ability of similar infusions of BDNF to produce behavioral effects (i.e. analgesia and an antidepressant-like effect) associated with elevated serotonin turnover may be in part the result of more irregular firing patterns of dorsal raphé neurons.