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Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: Three Ligands, Many Actions.

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New York, New York.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of a family of neurotrophins which include nerve growth factor, neurotrophin 3, and neurotrophin 4. Studies over the last three decades have identified mature BDNF as a key regulator of neuronal differentiation, structure, and function; actions mediated by the TrkB receptor. More recently identified isoforms which are translated from the bdnf gene, including the uncleaved precursor, pro-BDNF, and the cleaved prodomain, have been found to elicit opposing functions in neurons through the activation of distinct receptors. This work emphasizes the critical roles for all three isoforms of BDNF in modulating neuronal activity that impact complex human behaviors including memory, anxiety, depression, and hyperphagia.

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