BDNF variant linked to anxiety-related behaviors



Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the most-abundant neurotrophin in the brain. In mammals, it is synthesized as a precursor called proBDNF, which is proteolytically cleaved to generate mature BDNF. The BDNF gene is located on chromosome 11p13, and a functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of this gene has been shown to produce a valine (Val)-to-methionine (Met) substitution in the proBDNF protein at codon 66 (Val66Met). Several papers suggest that this SNP is related to decreased hippocampal volume and hippocampus-mediated memory performance in humans. Recently, Chen et al.1 generated a variant BDNF mouse (BDNFMet/Met) that reproduces the phenotypic hallmarks in humans with a variant Met allele. In the behavioral analysis, BDNFMet/Met mice show increased anxiety-related behaviors. This mini-review examines the impact of Met substitution of proBDNF on anxiety-related behaviors. BioEssays 29: 116–119, 2007. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.