NeuroMolecular Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 217–222

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Alzheimer’s Disease: Physiopathology and Beyond

Review Paper


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the most widely distributed neurotrophin in the central nervous system where it plays several pivotal roles in synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival. As a consequence, BDNF became a key target in the physiopathology of several neurological and psychiatric diseases. Recent studies have reported altered levels of BDNF in the circulation, i.e. serum or plasma, of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and low BDNF levels in the CSF as predictor of future cognitive decline in healthy older subjects. Altered BDNF circulating levels have also been reported in other neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, hampering its use as a specific biomarker for AD. Therefore, BDNF seems to be an unspecific biomarker of neuropsychiatric disorders marked by neurodegenerative changes.


BDNF Alzheimer’s disease Mild cognitive impairment Biomarker Physiopathology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuroscience (LIM-27), Department and Institute of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Group of Neuroimmunology, Laboratory of ImmunopharmachologyInstitute of Biological Sciences and School of Medicine, Federal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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