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BDNF/NF-κB Signaling in the Neurobiology of Depression

[ Vol. 23 , Issue. 21 ]


Ariel Caviedes, Carlos Lafourcade, Claudio Soto and Ursula Wyneken*   Pages 3154 - 3163 ( 10 )


Background: Mood disorders, consisting of unipolar and bipolar depression, are complex diseases characterized by depressed mood and anhedonia. These core symptoms are accompanied in a varying manner by anxiety, several neurovegetative symptoms and cognitive impairment. Mood disorders are characterized by decreases in neurogenesis, alteration in synaptic structure and synaptic transmission, all of them regulated by BDNF, a neurotrophin that performs multiple functions in the adult central nervous system. Many evidences show that BDNF is critically decreased in mood disorders and plays an essential role in most anti-depressant treatments. In turn, the transcription factor NF-kB has recently emerged as an important player in the pathophysiology of depression, with roles in neurogenesis, synaptic transmission and plasticity.

Methodology: We review the bidirectional interactions between BDNF and NF-kB signaling pathways.

Results and Conclusions: We discuss a potential beneficial effect of a positive feedback loop between BDNF and NF-kB activated pathways in antidepressant action. This could be transduced into the identification of downstream NF-kB gene targets able to potentiate antidepressant mechanisms, thus guiding the development of novel and faster acting antidepressant drugs.


BDNF, NF-κB, mood disorders, neurogenesis, plasticity, anhedonia.


Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de los Andes, Monseñor Alvaro del Portillo 12.455, Santiago, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de los Andes, Monseñor Alvaro del Portillo 12.455, Santiago, Dept of Neurology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Texas, Laboratorio de Neurociencias, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de los Andes; Mons. Alvaro del Portillo 12.455, Las Condes; Santiago

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