Cerebellar BDNF Promotes Exploration and Seeking for Novelty

Daniela Laricchiuta, Diego Andolina, Francesco Angelucci, Francesca Gelfo, Erica Berretta, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, Laura Petrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Approach system considered a motivational system that activates reward-seeking behavior is associated with exploration/impulsivity, whereas avoidance system considered an attentional system that promotes inhibition of appetitive responses is associated with active overt withdrawal. Approach and avoidance dispositions are modulated by distinct neurochemical profiles and synaptic patterns. However, the precise working of neurons and trafficking of molecules in the brain activity predisposing to approach and avoidance are yet unclear. Methods: In 3 phenotypes of inbred mice, avoiding, balancing, and approaching mice, selected by using the Approach/ Avoidance Y-maze, we analyzed endogenous brain levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor, one of the main secretory proteins with pleiotropic action. To verify the effects of the acute increase of brain derived neurotrophic factor, balancing and avoiding mice were bilaterally brain derived neurotrophic factor-infused in the cortical cerebellar regions. Results: Approaching animals showed high levels of explorative behavior and response to novelty and exhibited higher brain derived neurotrophic factor levels in the cerebellar structures in comparison to the other 2 phenotypes of mice. Interestingly, brain derived neurotrophic factor-infused balancing and avoiding mice significantly increased their explorative behavior and response to novelty. Conclusions: Cerebellar brain derived neurotrophic factor may play a role in explorative and novelty-seeking responses that sustain the approach predisposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-498
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018


  • approach-avoidance behavior
  • brain derived neurotrophic factor
  • cerebellar infusion
  • individual differences
  • open field task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cerebellar BDNF Promotes Exploration and Seeking for Novelty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this