What you need to know about BDNF
Researchers now recognize that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.
Neurotrophins are chemicals that help to stimulate and control neurogenesis, BDNF being one of the most active (R).
In the brain, BDNF is active in the hippocampus, cortex, and forebrain—areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. Hence, BDNF is important for long-term memory (R).
It is also expressed in the retina, motor neurons, the kidneys, saliva, and the prostate (R).
BDNF has been shown to play a role in neuroplasticity, which allows nerve cells in the brain to compensate for the injury, new situations or changes in the environment (R).
BDNF helps to support the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth, regeneration and creation of new neurons and synapses (R).
BDNF has been shown both to facilitate glutamate release at the presynapse and to increase postsynaptic glutamate receptor synthesis (R).
It’s important to realize that BDNF levels can be different in different places. So you have blood BDNF levels, CSF BDNF levels and BDNF levels in various brain locations. In healthy people, there’s actually no correlation between BDNF in the blood and CSF (R).
However, a different study says that BDNF in the blood is thought to be a reliable and sensitive marker of its variations occurring in the brain (Lommatzsch et al. 2005) (R).
Since BDNF can cross the brain barrier, it would make sense (R).
Blood BDNF decreases significantly with age (R).