Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a member of the nerve growth factor family, and is widely expressed in the adult mammalian brain. Besides its well known neuroprotective activity after traumatic brain injury the evidences regarding its activity dependent release by the pathophysiology of major depression are rapidly replicating. Considering the data that stress plays an important role by the development of depression which is characterized with prominent hippocampal cell death, as well as the well known neuroprotective effects of BDNF, we aimed to investigate the link between the BDNF, stress and depression. Thus we prepared a minireview in order to evaluate the neuroprotective role of BDNF by psychiatric disorders which are characterized with prominent neuronal cell death. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.