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brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)


  • a member of the neurotrophin neural growth factor family and is a secreted protein
  • it helps to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses
  • it is active in the hippocampus, cortex, and basal forebrain — areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking, particularly important for long-term memory
  • it is also expressed in the retina, the central nervous system, motor neurons, the kidneys, and the prostate, and is found in saliva.
  • BDNF increases in brain tissue:
    • acute voluntary exercise
    • upregulated by caffeine
    • sleep deprivation
    • ECT therapy
    • curcumin
    • intellectual stimulation
    • caloric restriction
    • glutamate as a excitatory neurotransmitter
  • BDNF appears to be down-regulated by air pollution, stress, depression and corticosteroids, hence the potential for these factors to impair learning and memory, and perhaps also contribute to depression
  • it binds to:
    • cell surface receptors:
      • TrkB
        • a tyrosine kinase based receptor and the primary receptor for BDNF and NT-4
      • LNGFR (for low-affinity nerve growth factor receptor, also known as p75)
        • may have a role in apoptosis
  • may also modulate the activity of various neurotransmitter receptors, including the α7 nicotinic receptor
  • interacts with the reelin signaling chain
  • may have a role in many disease states including:
    • depression
    • epilepsy
    • drug dependency
    • many psychiatric conditions
    • neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia
    • high levels appear to be present in patients with severe itching due to eczema
    • congenital central hypoventilation syndrome
bdnf.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/22 11:40 (external edit)