NMDA receptors in primary afferent terminals can contribute to hyperalgesia by increasing neurotransmitter release. In rats and mice, we found that the ability of intrathecal NMDA to induce neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) internalization (a measure of substance P release) required a previous injection of BDNF. Selective knock-down of NMDA receptors in primary afferents decreased NMDA-induced NK1R internalization, confirming the presynaptic location of these receptors. The effect of BDNF was mediated by tropomyosin-related kinase B (trkB) receptors and not p75 neurotrophin receptors (p75NTR), because it was not produced by proBDNF and was inhibited by the trkB antagonist ANA-12 but not by the p75NTR inhibitor TAT-Pep5. These effects are probably mediated through the truncated form of the trkB receptor as there is little expression of full-length trkB in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Src family kinase inhibitors blocked the effect of BDNF, suggesting that trkB receptors promote the activation of these NMDA receptors by Src family kinase phosphorylation. Western blots of cultured DRG neurons revealed that BDNF increased Tyr1472 phosphorylation of the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor, known to have a potentiating effect. Patch-clamp recordings showed that BDNF, but not proBDNF, increased NMDA receptor currents in cultured DRG neurons. NMDA-induced NK1R internalization was also enabled in a neuropathic pain model or by activating dorsal horn microglia with lipopolysaccharide. These effects were decreased by a BDNF scavenger, a trkB receptor antagonist and a Src family kinase inhibitor, indicating that BDNF released by microglia potentiates NMDA receptors in primary afferents during neuropathic pain.