High-grade glioma is incurable and is associated with a short survival time and a poor prognosis. There are two forms of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), proBDNF and mature BDNF, which exert opposite effects. Their diverse actions are mediated through two different transmembrane receptor signalling systems: p75NTR and TrkB. The important roles of the BDNF/TrkB signalling system in tumour cell proliferation and survival have been demonstrated. However, few studies have been able to distinguish mature BDNF from proBDNF due to the limitation of specific antibodies. Using specific proBDNF antibodies, we demonstrated that the proBDNF/p75NTR pathway appears to inhibit malignant glioma cell growth and migration. In the present study using specific mature BDNF antibodies, we found that mature BDNF inhibited C6 glioma cell apoptosis and increased cell growth and migration in vitro. Our data suggest that the counterbalance between mature BDNF and proBDNF may regulate tumour growth.