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Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Apr;134(1):116-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor: a novel neurotrophin involved in psychiatric and neurological disorders.

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  • 1Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service, Broome, Australia.


Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a unique member of the neurotrophin family with potent and plethoric effects on the proliferation, differentiation, survival and death of neuronal and non-neuronal cells, thereby making it critical in the health and well being of the nervous system. Studies of various neurological and psychiatric disorders implicate BDNF aberration as a predisposing and perpetuating factor with predictive utility in treatment outcomes. BDNF therapies have yielded good results in animal models of disease states and studies in human subjects are underway. BDNF may be the "missing-link" that mediates the interaction between gene and environment, synaptic plasticity and apoptosis and transgenerational transmission of disease vulnerability. There is theoretical and empirical support for a model in which BDNF underpins the integrity of the central nervous system and this may herald a quantum leap in the way we approach disorders of the mind and brain. Understanding and developing therapies centered on the role of BDNF may lead to paradigm shifts in current practice and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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