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J Affect Disord. 2008 Jan;105(1-3):279-83. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Plasma and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed patients during 1 year of antidepressant treatments.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Neurobiologia, Farmacologia e Biotecnologie, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. a.piccini@med.unipi.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been hypothesized to be involved in the neurobiology of major depression. The aim of this study was to assess the possible relationships between depressive symptoms and serum and/or plasma BDNF levels during 1 year of antidepressant treatment.

METHODS:

Plasma and serum BDNF levels were assayed in 15 drug-free depressed patients and in 15 healthy control subjects at baseline and the 1st, 3rd, 6th and 12th month of antidepressant treatment.

RESULTS:

At baseline, patients' serum and plasma BDNF levels were significantly lower (p<.001 and p=.004, respectively) than those found in healthy control subjects. However, while from the 1st month of treatment patients' plasma BDNF levels did not differ significantly from those observed in healthy control subjects, serum BDNF levels in patients remained significantly lower at all times.

LIMITATIONS:

The main limitations of the current study are represented by the small sample size and the high discontinuation rate.

CONCLUSIONS:

Untreated depressed patients showed reduced baseline serum and plasma BDNF levels, as compared with control subjects. The clinical improvement paralleled the normalization of plasma BDNF after 1 month of treatment, while, at every assessment time, patients' serum BDNF levels were lower than those of control subjects. This would suggest that serum BDNF might represent a non-specific trait marker of depression.

PMID:
17553570
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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