BDNF gene neuroplasticity study

Study code

Lead researcher
Professor Pradeep Nathan

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Researcher type

Speciality area
Dementias and Neurodegeneration

Recruitment Site


Various brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can alter the way that the brain functions and cause problems with memory and learning. The strength of the connections between nerves can become stronger or weaker depending on their activity (synaptic plasticity). We are interested in measuring synaptic plasticity because it may help us to develop new drugs that can help patients with cognitive problems (alertness, judgement, attention, learning and memory are collectively known as cognition).

The gene for a brain protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) exists in different forms (or polymorphisms) in normal people and it may influence synaptic plasticity. In this study we want to see if we can detect any differences in synaptic plasticity between subjects with different BDNF gene polymorphisms using cognitive tests, brain imaging, brain wave testing and magnetic stimulation of the brain.

Participation: For this study we recruited 26 volunteers from the Cambridge BioResource to attend 3 session which included a full physical exam, Medical/medication/drug and alcohol history, psychological testing, screening questionnaires, Blood and urine samples, IQ test and behavioural tests.

Organisation: The research is being conducted by Professor Pradeep Nathan from the University of Cambridge and GSK