What is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)?

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    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the neurotrophin[1] family, a group of growth factors that are specific to nervous tissue and are known to regulate many cellular processes involved in survival, proliferation, and maturation of certain neurons. Principally known for its role in learning and memory,[2] BDNF touches upon several brain functions,[3] including neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity (the ability of connections between neurons to strengthen or weaken over time), neuroprotection, inflammation, immunity, and energy metabolism.[4]

    BDNF has been inversely associated with neurodegenerative (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease) and metabolic disease (e.g., obesity, diabetes), as well as stress, and can be modulated by lifestyle habits (e.g., exercise, diet).


    1. ^Nan Xiao, Quynh-Thu LeNeurotrophic Factors and Their Potential Applications in Tissue RegenerationArch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz).(2016 Apr)
    2. ^Magdalena Miranda, Juan Facundo Morici, María Belén Zanoni, Pedro BekinschteinBrain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: A Key Molecule for Memory in the Healthy and the Pathological BrainFront Cell Neurosci.(2019 Aug 7)
    3. ^Siresha Bathina, Undurti N DasBrain-derived neurotrophic factor and its clinical implicationsArch Med Sci.(2015 Dec 10)
    4. ^Krisztina Marosi, Mark P MattsonBDNF mediates adaptive brain and body responses to energetic challengesTrends Endocrinol Metab.(2014 Feb)