Vol 51, No 3 (2017)
Review Article

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The role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its single nucleotide polymorphisms in stroke patients

Dariusz Kotlęga12, Barbara Peda2, Agnieszka Zembroń-Łacny3, Monika Gołąb-Janowska1, Przemysław Nowacki1
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2017;51(3):240-246.


Stroke is the main cause of motoric and neuropsychological disability in adults. Recent advances in research into the role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor in neuroplasticity, neuroprotection and neurogenesis might provide important information for the development of new poststroke-rehabilitation strategies. It plays a role as a mediator in motor learning and rehabilitation after stroke. Concentrations of BDNF are lower in acute ischemic-stroke patients compared to controls. Lower levels of BDNF are correlated with an increased risk of stroke, worse functional outcomes and higher mortality. BDNF signalling is dependent on the genetic variation which could affect an individual's response to recovery after stroke.

Several single nucleotide polymorphisms of the BDNF gene have been studied with regard to stroke patients, but most papers analyse the rs6265 which results in a change from valine to methionine in the precursor protein. Subsequently a reduction in BDNF activity is observed. There are studies indicating the role of this polymorphism in brain plasticity, functional and morphological changes in the brain. It may affect the risk of ischemic stroke, post-stroke outcomes and the efficacy of the rehabilitation process within physical exercise and transcranial magnetic stimulation. There is a consistent trend of Met alleles’ being connected with worse outcomes and prognoses after stroke. However, there is no satisfactory data confirming the importance of Met allele in stroke epidemiology and the post-stroke rehabilitation process. We present the current data on the role of BDNF and polymorphisms of the BDNF gene in stroke patients, concentrating on human studies.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska