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Front Cell Neurosci. 2014 Dec 22;8:430. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00430. eCollection 2014.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: a bridge between inflammation and neuroplasticity.

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Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano Milan, Italy.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Research Group Animal Models in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg University Mannheim, Germany.


Cytokines are key regulatory mediators involved in the host response to immunological challenges, but also play a critical role in the communication between the immune and the central nervous system. For this, their expression in both systems is under a tight regulatory control. However, pathological conditions may lead to an overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines that may have a detrimental impact on central nervous system. In particular, they may damage neuronal structure and function leading to deficits of neuroplasticity, the ability of nervous system to perceive, respond and adapt to external or internal stimuli. In search of the mechanisms by which pro-inflammatory cytokines may affect this crucial brain capability, we will discuss one of the most interesting hypotheses: the involvement of the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which represents one of the major mediators of neuroplasticity.


BDNF; depression; lipopolysaccaride; neurogenesis; pro-inflammatory cytokines

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