Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Dietary restriction stimulates BDNF production in the brain and thereby protects neurons against excitotoxic injury

  • Wenzhen Duan
  • JaeWon Lee
  • ZhiHong Guo
  • Mark P. Mattson


Dietary restriction (DR) increases the lifespan of rodents and increases their resistance to several different age-related diseases including cancer and diabetes. Beneficial effects of DR on brain plasticity and neuronal vulnerability to injury have recently been reported, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We report that levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are significantly increased in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and striatum of rats maintained on a DR regimen compared to animals fed ad libitum (AL). Seizure-induced damage to hippocampal neurons was significantly reduced in rats maintained on DR, and this beneficial effect was attenuated by intraventricular administration of a BDNF-blocking antibody. These findings provide the first evidence that diet can effect expression of a neurotrophic factor, demonstrate that BDNF signaling plays a central role in the neuroprotective effect of DR, and proffer DR as an approach for reducing neuronal damage in neurodegenerative disorders.

Index Entries

Apoptosis BDNF caloric restriction cerebral cortex epileptic seizures glutamate 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenzhen Duan
    • 1
  • JaeWon Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • ZhiHong Guo
    • 1
  • Mark P. Mattson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of NeuroscienceNational Institute on Aging Gerontology Research CenterBaltimore
  2. 2.Sanders-Brown Research Center on Aging and Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of KentuckyLexington
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimore

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