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Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;27(5):386-90. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Variation in the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and response to cognitive-behavior therapy in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, United Kingdom.



Recent research suggests that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play a role in extinction learning. The goal of this study was to test whether variation in the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is related to treatment response to exposure-based cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), a form of extinction learning, in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


One hundred and six OCD patients from a specialized clinic, who underwent a standardized CBT treatment after partial or non-response to a 12-week pharmacological trial, were genotyped for the BDNF Val66Met and the relationship between genotype and treatment response was analyzed.


Among 98 CBT completers, 36% of those carrying the BDNF Met allele were rated as CBT responders compared to 60% of nonMet allele carriers (P=0.027). When analyzing the different obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions, in patients with contamination/cleaning symptoms, the Met allele was associated with a significantly worse CBT response (P<0.0001) and a lower obsessions severity decrease from pre- to posttreatment (P=0.046).


Genetic variation in BDNF may be associated with treatment response in exposure-based CBT in OCD, especially in those patients exhibiting contamination/cleaning symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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