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The BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism Modulates Resilience of Neurological Functioning to Brain Ageing and Dementia: A Narrative Review

1
Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, College of Health and Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia
2
Memory Clinic, Department of Neurology, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, 15006 Prague, Czech Republic
3
International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, 65691 Brno, Czech Republic
4
Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2E1, Canada
5
Centre for Health Care of the Elderly, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS B3H 2E1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(4), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10040195
Received: 26 February 2020 / Revised: 19 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: ageing; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; BDNF; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF Val66Met; cognitive function ageing; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; BDNF; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF Val66Met; cognitive function
MDPI and ACS Style

Brown, D.T.; Vickers, J.C.; Stuart, K.E.; Cechova, K.; Ward, D.D. The BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism Modulates Resilience of Neurological Functioning to Brain Ageing and Dementia: A Narrative Review. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 195.

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