Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein encoded in humans by the BDNF gene located on chromosome 11.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor acts on certain neurons of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, contributing to the maintenance and survival of existing neurons and enhancing the development and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. BDNF in the brain is active in the hippocampus, cortex, and forebrain, areas vital to learning, memory, and higher-order thinking while its effect appears to be particularly important for long-term memory.
Although the vast majority of neurons in the brains of higher mammals (and humans) are formed before birth, parts of the adult brain retain the ability to develop new neurons from nerve stem cells through a process known as neurogenesis. Neurotrophins are proteins that help stimulate and control neurogenesis, while BDNF is one of the most active neurotrophins.
Some types of physical exercise have been shown to significantly increase (triple) the synthesis of BDNF in the human brain, a phenomenon that is partly responsible for exercise-induced neurogenesis and for improving cognitive function. Niacin also appears to increase BDNF levels.
Several studies have shown possible links between BDNF and pathological conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Rett syndrome, dementia as well as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.