We recently expanded on our understanding of how genetic alterations in BDNF/TrkB contribute to obesity and behavioural difficulties.
Research previously carried out in our laboratory identified some overweight people whose BDNF/TrkB gene was disrupted by a mutation. In a new study published this month we report the identification of another 10 overweight individuals who carry mutations in the BDNF/TrkB gene. We found that people with these mutations often have from learning difficulties, dyspraxia and hyperactivity as well. In cells, our collaborator Dr Gary Wayman (Washington State University, USA) and his team established that the identified mutations have a detrimental impact on the formation of neuronal connections in the hippocampus, an area of the brain, which plays a role in learning, emotion and memory.