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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Oct;36(9):2165-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.07.002. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Effect of BDNF val(66)met polymorphism on declarative memory and its neural substrate: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.


Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a critical component of the molecular mechanism of memory formation. Variation in the BDNF gene, particularly the rs6265 (val(66)met) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), has been linked to variability in human memory performance and to both the structure and physiological response of the hippocampus, which plays a central role in memory processing. However, these effects have not been consistently reported, which may reflect the modest size of the samples studied to date. Employing a meta-analytic approach, we examined the effect of the BDNF val(66)met polymorphism on human memory (5922 subjects) and hippocampal structure (2985 subjects) and physiology (362 subjects). Our results suggest that variations in the rs6265 SNP of the BDNF gene have a significant effect on memory performance, and on both the structure and physiology of the hippocampus, with carriers of the met allele being adversely affected. These results underscore the role of BDNF in moderating variability between individuals in human memory performance and in mediating some of the neurocognitive impairments underlying neuropsychiatric disorders.

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