Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 10, 209-219 (March 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrd3366

Potential therapeutic uses of BDNF in neurological and psychiatric disorders

Alan H. Nagahara1 & Mark H. Tuszynski1,2  About the authors


The growth factor brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tropomyosin-related kinase receptor type B (TRKB) are actively produced and trafficked in multiple regions in the adult brain, where they influence neuronal activity, function and survival throughout life. The diverse presence and activity of BDNF suggests a potential role for this molecule in the pathogenesis and treatment of both neurological and psychiatric disorders. This article reviews the current understanding and future directions in BDNF-related research in the central nervous system, with an emphasis on the possible therapeutic application of BDNF in modifying fundamental processes underlying neural disease.

Author affiliations

  1. Center for Neural Repair, Department of Neurosciences 0626, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.
  2. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Diego, California 92161, USA.

Correspondence to: Email:

Published online 1 March 2011