The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism regulates glucocorticoid-induced corticohippocampal remodeling and behavioral despair

M. Notaras, X. Du, J. Gogos, M. van den Buuse, R. A. Hill

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism has been associated with sensitivity to stress and affective disorders. We therefore sought to model the inter-causality of these relationships under controlled laboratory conditions. We subjected humanized BDNF Val66Met (hBDNFVal66Met) transgenic mice to a history of stress, modeled by chronic late-adolescent corticosterone (CORT) exposure, before evaluating affective-related behavior using the forced-swim test (FST) in adulthood. While hBDNFMet/Met mice had a depression-like phenotype in the FST irrespective of CORT, hBDNFVal/Val wildtype mice had a resilient phenotype but developed an equally robust depressive-like phenotype following CORT. A range of stress-sensitive molecules were studied across the corticohippocampal axis, and where genotype differences occurred following CORT they tended to inversely coincide with the behavior of the hBDNFVal/Val group. Notably, tyrosine hydroxylase was markedly down-regulated in the mPFC of hBDNFVal/Val mice as a result of CORT treatment, which mimicked expression levels of hBDNFMet/Met mice and the FST behavior of both groups. The expression of calretinin, PSD-95, and truncated TrkB were also concomitantly reduced in the mPFC of hBDNFVal/Val mice by CORT. This work establishes BDNFVal66Met genotype as a regulator of behavioral despair, and identifies new biological targets of BDNF genetic variation relevant to stress-inducible disorders such as depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1233
Number of pages16
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2017

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