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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Apr;14(3):347-53. doi: 10.1017/S1461145710000738. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Blood BDNF concentrations reflect brain-tissue BDNF levels across species.

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Centre for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging (CIMBI), Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in synaptic plasticity, neuronal differentiation and survival of neurons. Observations of decreased serum BDNF levels in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders have highlighted the potential of BDNF as a biomarker, but so far there have been no studies directly comparing blood BDNF levels to brain BDNF levels in different species. We examined blood, serum, plasma and brain-tissue BDNF levels in three different mammalian species: rat, pig, and mouse, using an ELISA method. As a control, we included an analysis of blood and brain tissue from conditional BDNF knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. Whereas BDNF could readily be measured in rat blood, plasma and brain tissue, it was undetectable in mouse blood. In pigs, whole-blood levels of BDNF could not be measured with a commercially available ELISA kit, but pig plasma BDNF levels (mean 994±186 pg/ml) were comparable to previously reported values in humans. We demonstrated positive correlations between whole-blood BDNF levels and hippocampal BDNF levels in rats (r2=0.44, p=0.025) and between plasma BDNF and hippocampal BDNF in pigs (r2=0.41, p=0.025). Moreover, we found a significant positive correlation between frontal cortex and hippocampal BDNF levels in mice (r2=0.81, p=0.0139). Our data support the view that measures of blood and plasma BDNF levels reflect brain-tissue BDNF levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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