Nurr1 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) play major roles in cognition. Nurr1 regulates BDNF in midbrain dopaminergic neurons and cerebellar granule cells. Nurr1 and BDNF are also highly expressed in the cerebral cortex, a brain area important in cognition. Due to Nurr1 and BDNF tissue specificity, the regulatory effect of Nurr1 on BDNF in different brain areas cannot be generalized. The relationship between Nurr1 and BDNF in the cortex has not been investigated previously. Therefore, we examined Nurr1-mediated BDNF regulation in cortical neurons in activity-dependent and activity-independent states. Mouse primary cortical neurons were treated with the Nurr1 agonist, amodiaquine (AQ). Membrane depolarization was induced by KCl or veratridine and reversed by nimodipine. AQ and membrane depolarization significantly increased Nurr1 (p < 0.001) and BDNF (pAQ < 0.001, pKCl < 0.01) as assessed by real-time qRT-PCR. However, Nurr1 knockdown did not affect BDNF gene expression in resting or depolarized neurons. Accordingly, the positive correlation between Nurr1 and BDNF expression in AQ and membrane depolarization experiments does not imply co-regulation because Nurr1 knockdown did not affect BDNF gene expression in resting or depolarized cortical neurons. Therefore, in contrast to midbrain dopaminergic neurons and cerebellar granule cells, Nurr1 does not regulate BDNF in cortical neurons.