BDNF regulates eating behavior and locomotor activity in mice

Steven G. Kernie, Daniel J. Liebl, Luis F. Parada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

695 Scopus citations


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was studied initially for its role in sensory neuron development. Ablation of this gene in mice leads to death shortly after birth, and abnormalities have been found in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. BDNF and its tyrosine kinase receptor, TrkB, are expressed in hypothalamic nuclei associated with satiety and locomotor activity. In heterozygous mice, BDNF gene expression is reduced and we find that all heterozygous mice exhibit abnormalities in eating behavior or locomotor activity. We also observe this phenotype in independently derived inbred and hybrid BDNF mutant strains. Infusion with BDNF or NT4/5 can transiently reverse the eating behavior and obesity. Thus, we identify a novel non-neurotrophic function for neurotrophins and indicate a role in behavior that is remarkably sensitive to alterations in BDNF activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1290-1300
Number of pages11
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2000


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Hypothalamus
  • Neurotrophins
  • Obesity
  • TrkB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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