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Psychiatry Investig. 2010 Dec;7(4):236-42. doi: 10.4306/pi.2010.7.4.236. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

Effects of BDNF polymorphisms on antidepressant action.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

Evidence suggests that the down-regulation of the signaling pathway involving brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a molecular element known to regulate neuronal plasticity and survival, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of major depression. The restoration of BDNF activity induced by antidepressant treatment has been implicated in the antidepressant therapeutic mechanism. Because there is variability among patients with major depressive disorder in terms of response to antidepressant treatment and since genetic factors may contribute to this inter-individual variability in antidepressant response, pharmacogenetic studies have tested the associations between genetic polymorphisms in candidate genes related to antidepressant therapeutic action. In human BDNF gene, there is a common functional polymorphism (Val66Met) in the pro-region of BDNF, which affects the intracellular trafficking of proBDNF. Because of the potentially important role of BDNF in the antidepressant mechanism, many pharmacogenetic studies have tested the association between this polymorphism and the antidepressant therapeutic response, but they have produced inconsistent results. A recent meta-analysis of eight studies, which included data from 1,115 subjects, suggested that the Val/Met carriers have increased antidepressant response in comparison to Val/Val homozygotes, particularly in the Asian population. The positive molecular heterosis effect (subjects heterozygous for a specific genetic polymorphism show a significantly greater effect) is compatible with animal studies showing that, although BDNF exerts an antidepressant effect, too much BDNF may have a detrimental effect on mood. Several recommendations are proposed for future antidepressant pharmacogenetic studies of BDNF, including the consideration of multiple polymorphisms and a haplotype approach, gene-gene interaction, a single antidepressant regimen, controlling for age and gender interactions, and pharmacogenetic effects on specific depressive symptom-clusters.

KEYWORDS:

Antidepressant; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Major depression; Polymorphisms

PMID:
21253406
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3022309
Free PMC Article
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