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Reviews in the Neurosciences

Editor-in-Chief: Huston, Joseph P.

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Volume 28, Issue 6


Hippocampal BDNF in physiological conditions and social isolation

Ivan ZaletelORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4841-788X / Dragana Filipović
  • Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Endocrinology, Institute of Nuclear Sciences “Vinča”, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Nela Puškaš
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute of Histology and Embryology “Aleksandar Ð. Kostić”, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Višegradska 26, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-04-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2016-0072


Exposure of an organism to chronic psychosocial stress may affect brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression that has been implicated in the etiology of psychiatric disorders, such as depression. Given that depression in humans has been linked with social stress, the chronic social stress paradigms for modeling psychiatric disorders in animals have thus been developed. Chronic social isolation in animal models generally causes changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning, associated with anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. Also, this chronic stress causes downregulation of BDNF protein and mRNA in the hippocampus, a stress-sensitive brain region closely related to the pathophysiology of depression. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge regarding the structure, function, intracellular signaling, inter-individual differences and epigenetic regulation of BDNF in both physiological conditions and depression and changes in corticosterone levels, as a marker of stress response. Since BDNF levels are age dependent in humans and rodents, this review will also highlight the effects of adolescent and adult chronic social isolation models of both genders on the BDNF expression.

Keywords: BDNF; behavior; corticosterone; depression; social stress


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About the article

aThese authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: 2016-10-30

Accepted: 2017-02-16

Published Online: 2017-04-07

Published in Print: 2017-07-26

Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Citation Information: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Volume 28, Issue 6, Pages 675–692, ISSN (Online) 2191-0200, ISSN (Print) 0334-1763, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2016-0072.

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