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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Oct;47(10):1546-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.04.012. Epub 2013 May 20.

Serum concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in patients with gender identity disorder.

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Gender Identity Disorder Program, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is characterized by a strong and persistent cross-gender identification that affects different aspects of behavior. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a critical role in neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity. Altered BDNF-signaling is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of psychiatric disordersand is related to traumatic life events. To examine serum BDNF levels, we compared one group of DSM-IV GID patients (n = 45) and one healthy control group (n = 66). Serum BDNF levels were significantly decreased in GID patients (p = 0.013). This data support the hypothesis that the reduction found in serum BDNF levels in GID patients may be related to the psychological abuse that transsexuals are exposed during their life.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Gender identity disorder; Transsexualism

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