Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is reduced in Alzheimer's disease

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1997 Oct 3;49(1-2):71-81. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(97)00125-3.


Alzheimer's disease may be due to a deficiency in neurotrophin protein or receptor expression. Consistent with this hypothesis, a reduction in BDNF mRNA expression has been observed in human post-mortem Alzheimer's disease hippocampi. To further investigate this observation, we examined whether the alteration in BDNF expression also occurred at the protein level in human post-mortem Alzheimer's disease hippocampi and temporal cortices using immunohistochemical techniques. We observed a reduction in the intensity and number of BDNF-immunoreactive cell bodies within both the Alzheimer's disease hippocampus and temporal cortex when compared to normal tissue. These results support and extend previous findings that BDNF mRNA is reduced in the human Alzheimer's disease hippocampus and temporal cortex, and suggest that a loss of BDNF may contribute to the progressive atrophy of neurons in Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / analysis
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / biosynthesis*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism
  • Down Syndrome / pathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmortem Changes
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • RNA, Messenger