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Physiol Behav. 2014 Jan 17;123:76-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression ex vivo in obesity.

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  • 1Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, United States. Electronic address:


Obesity is associated with an increased risk in neurodegenerative diseases. To counteract the neuronal damage, the human body increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression, leading to neuronal survival and plasticity. Recently, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) have been found to release BDNF as a potential neuroprotective role of inflammation. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine whether lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PBMC activation would lead to differences in BDNF and inflammatory responses between obese and non-obese subjects. Thirty-one subjects (14 obese and 17 non-obese), ages 18 to 30years, were recruited. PBMCs were cultured for 24h with 10ng/mL LPS. BDNF, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured in both plasma and cell culture supernatants. Our results did not illustrate any differences in plasma BDNF levels between obese and non-obese groups. However, obese subjects elicited a greater plasma IL-6 production, which was positively associated with plasma BDNF. Furthermore, LPS-induced PBMCs expressed significantly higher BDNF and IL-6 levels in obese subjects compared to the non-obese subjects. Finally, these BDNF levels were positively correlated with IL-6 response ex vivo. These findings suggest that under a high inflammatory state, PBMCs produce greater BDNF and IL-6 expression which may play a collaborative role to protect against neuronal damage associated with obesity.

Published by Elsevier Inc.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Interleukin-6; Lipopolysaccharide; Obesity; Tumor necrosis factor-α

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