Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by the activation of degenerative and inflammatory processes in brain circuits that control movement and, according to the degree of progression of the damage, can cause neuropsychological disorders such as cognitive dysfunction. Changes in gene expression profile or post-translational modifications in secretory proteins such as neurotrophic factors could define the disease progression. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is relevant, because it not only participates in neuronal survival, neurotransmission, dendritic growth and cellular communication but also in disease progression. In this chapter, considering both experimental evidences and clinical reports, the authors will analyze the contribution of BDNF as one of the causes of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation; discuss the participation of this neurotrophic factor in the development of cognitive dysfunction, and finally the scope of novel BDNF-based therapies for PD.
Part of the book: Parkinson's Disease and Beyond