BDNF or Brain-derived neurotrophic factor makes some nerve cells get into the groove and orchestration of new connections.
BDNF and the evolution of you (me)
BDNF can be altered in many ways like you and your health. Exercise for example raises the levels of BDNF and so does a diet low in carbohydrates and fasting.
BDNF and Depression
Almost every known method of antidepressant effects also raises the functional levels of BDNF. On the other hand a decrease in BDNF can result in shrinking density in hippocampus and depression. A prolonged exposure to stresshormones like corticosterone downregulates BDNF.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: role in depression and suicide
More recently, impairment in the functioning of pan75 neurotrophin receptor has been reported in suicide brain specimens. pan75 neurotrophin receptor is a low-affinity neurotrophin receptor that, when expressed in conjunction with low availability of neurotropins/Trks, induces apoptosis. Overall, these studies suggest the possibility that BDNF and its mediated signaling may participate in the pathophysiology of depression and suicidal behavior. This review focuses on the critical evidence demonstrating the involvement of BDNF in depression and suicide.
Childhood Sexual Abuse and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder fMRI and PET Study of Deficits in Hippocampal Structure and Function in Women
Results: A failure of hippocampal activation and 16% smaller volume of the hippocampus were seen in women with abuse and PTSD compared to women with abuse without PTSD. Women with abuse and PTSD had a 19% smaller hippocampal volume relative to women without abuse or PTSD.
Conclusions: These results are consistent with deficits in hippocampal function and structure in abuse-related PTSD.
Downregulation of BDNF mRNA in the Hippocampal Dentate Gyrus after Re-exposure to Cues Previously Associated with Footshock
This study examined the effects of footshock stress and re-exposure to cues previously associated with footshock on expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA in the hippocampus of male rats.
The data suggest that psychological, as well as unconditioned physical stress, can decrease hippocampal BDNF mRNA. Possible implications for stress-related and other neuropsychiatric disorders associated with deficits in hippocampal function and volume, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s Disease, are discussed.