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Neuroreport. 2014 Jul 9;25(10):753-5. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000165.

Significantly decreased mRNA levels of BDNF and MEK1 genes in treatment-resistant depression.

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aShanghai Mental Health Center, Division of Mood Disorders, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai bKey Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences & Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Kunming, China cDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The aim of the current study was to investigate whether the levels of mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) and a related gene MEK1 were more obviously decreased in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). In total, 50 patients with major depressive disorder (including 26 with TRD and 24 with treatment-responsive depression) and 48 healthy controls were enrolled. BDNF and MEK1 mRNA levels in blood samples from all patients and controls were measured using reverse transcriptase-PCR. BDNF and MEK1 mRNA levels were significantly reduced in patients with major depressive disorder when compared with healthy controls (BDNF: P<0.01; MEK1: P<0.001), as well as among treatment-resistant depressive patients as compared with treatment-responsive depressive patients (BDNF: P<0.001; MEK1: P<0.01). Our findings support the hypothesis that BDNF and MEK1 mRNA expression levels are more obviously decreased in patients with TRD.

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