BDNF enhancers created by: alpal1
BDNF acts on certain neurons
of the central nervous system
and the peripheral nervous system
, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation
of new neurons and synapses
In the brain, it is active in the hippocampus
, and basal forebrain
—areas vital to learning
, and higher thinking.
It is also expressed in the retina, motor neurons, the kidneys, saliva, and the prostate.
BDNF itself is important for long-term memory
Although the vast majority of neurons in the mammalian
brain are formed prenatally, parts of the adult brain retain the ability to grow new neurons from neural stem cells
in a process known as neurogenesis
. Neurotrophins are proteins that help to stimulate and control neurogenesis, BDNF being one of the most active.
Mice born without the ability to make BDNF suffer developmental defects in the brain and sensory nervous system
, and usually die soon after birth, suggesting that BDNF plays an important role in normal neural development
Other important neurotrophins structurally related to BDNF include NT-3
, and NGF
BDNF is made in the endoplasmic reticulum
and secreted from dense-core vesicles. It binds carboxypeptidase E
(CPE), and the disruption of this binding has been proposed to cause the loss of sorting of BDNF into dense-core vesicles. The phenotype
for BDNF knockout mice can be severe, including postnatal lethality. Other traits include sensory neuron losses that affect coordination, balance, hearing, taste, and breathing. Knockout mice also exhibit cerebellar abnormalities and an increase in the number of sympathetic neurons.