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Arch Med Res. 2011 Aug;42(6):482-94. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, food intake regulation, and obesity.

Author information

1
Unidad de Investigación Médica en Genética Humana, Hospital de Pediatría, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, México, D.F., Mexico. hayrov@gmail.com

Abstract

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin that plays a fundamental role in development and plasticity of the central nervous system (CNS). It is currently recognized as a major participant in the regulation of food intake. Multiple studies have shown that different regulators of appetite such as leptin, insulin and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) potentially exert anorexigenic effects through BDNF. Low circulating levels of BDNF are associated with a higher risk of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Strict food restriction reduces BDNF and may trigger binge-eating episodes and weight gain. The existence of mutations that cause haploinsufficiency of BDNF as well as some genetic variants, notably the BDNF p.Val66Met polymorphism, are also associated with the development of obese phenotypes and hyperphagia. However, association of the Met allele with AN and BN, which have different phenotypic characteristics, shows clearly the existence of other relevant factors that regulate eating behavior. This may, in part, be explained by the epigenetic regulation of BDNF through mechanisms like DNA methylation and histone acetylation. Environmental factors, primarily during early development, are crucial to the establishment of these stable but reversible changes that alter the transcriptional expression and are transgenerationally heritable, with potential concomitant effects on the development of eating disorders and body weight control.

PMID:
21945389
DOI:
10.1016/j.arcmed.2011.09.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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