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The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism modulates resilience of neurological functioning to brain ageing and dementia: A narrative review


Brown, DT and Vickers, JC and Stuart, KE and Cechova, K and Ward, DD, The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism modulates resilience of neurological functioning to brain ageing and dementia: A narrative review, Brain Sciences, 10, (4) pp. 1-16. ISSN 2076-3425 (2020) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

DOI: doi:10.3390/brainsci10040195


Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) is an abundant and multi-function neurotrophin in the brain. It is released following neuronal activity and is believed to be particularly important in strengthening neural networks. A common variation in the BDNF gene, a valine to methionine substitution at codon 66 (Val66Met), has been linked to differential expression of BDNF associated with experience-dependent plasticity. The Met allele has been associated with reduced production of BDNF following neuronal stimulation, which suggests a potential role of this variation with respect to how the nervous system may respond to challenges, such as brain ageing and related neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., dementia and Alzheimer's disease). The current review examines the potential of the BDNF Val66Met variation to modulate an individual's susceptibility and trajectory through cognitive changes associated with ageing and dementia. On balance, research to date indicates that the BDNF Met allele at this codon is potentially associated with a detrimental influence on the level of cognitive functioning in older adults and may also impart increased risk of progression to dementia. Furthermore, recent studies also show that this genetic variation may modulate an individual's response to interventions targeted at building cognitive resilience to conditions that cause dementia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Alzheimer’s disease, BDNF, BDNF Val66Met, ageing, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, cognitive function, dementia
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Neurology and neuromuscular diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Brown, DT (Ms Donnamay Brown)
UTAS Author:Vickers, JC (Professor James Vickers)
UTAS Author:Stuart, KE (Miss Kimberley Stuart)
UTAS Author:Ward, DD (Mr David Ward)
ID Code:151760
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2022-08-04
Last Modified:2022-09-05
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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