Painful experiences are multilayered, composed of sensory, affective, cognitive and behavioral facets. Whereas it is well accepted that the development of chronic pain is due to maladaptive neuronal changes, the underlying molecular mechanisms, their relationship to the different pain modalities, and indeed the localization of these changes are still unknown. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an activity-dependent neuromodulator in the adult brain, which enhances neuronal excitability. In the spinal cord, BDNF underlies the development and maintenance of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Here, we hypothesized that BDNF could be a trigger of some of these plastic changes. Our results demonstrate that BDNF is upregulated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the primary sensory cortex (S1) in rats with inflammatory pain. Injections of recombinant BDNF (into the ACC) or a viral vector synthesizing BDNF (into the ACC or S1) triggered both neuronal hyperexcitability, as shown by elevated long-term potentiation, and sustained pain hypersensitivity. Finally, pharmacological blockade of BDNF-tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) signaling in the ACC, through local injection of cyclotraxin-B (a novel, highly potent, and selective TrkB antagonist) prevented neuronal hyperexcitability, the emergence of cold hypersensitivity, and passive avoidance behavior. These findings show that BDNF-dependent neuronal plasticity in the ACC, a structure known to be involved in the affective-emotional aspect of pain, is a key mechanism in the development and maintenance of the emotional aspect of chronic pain.