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This Podcast features an interview with Eric Nestler, author of a Report published in the 5 October 2012 issue of Science. BDNF is a secreted ligand that stimulates the growth and survival of neurons and promotes neural plasticity, which is the phenomenon by which a neural network is altered by activity through that network and by environmental factors. Changes in BDNF expression have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, to mood and behavioral disorders, and to neural plasticity induced by cocaine use. Nestler’s group reports that whereas BDNF plays a positive role in cocaine-induced neural plasticity, it plays a negative modulatory role in morphine-induced neural plasticity and has a different site of action. These findings have implications for understanding and treating addiction and highlight the complex role of BDNF in modulating neural function through its action on multiple downstream signaling pathways.