Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor implicated in neuronal survival. Studies have reported
altered BDNF serum concentrations in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, these studies have been
inconsistent. Few studies have investigated BDNF concentrations across multiple neurodegenerative diseases, and no
studies have investigated BDNF concentrations in patients with frontotemporal dementia. To examine BDNF concentrations
in different neurodegenerative diseases, we measured serum concentrations of BDNF using enzyme-linked immunoassay
in subjects with behavioral–variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD, n=20), semantic dementia (SemD, n=16), AD
(n=34), and mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n=30), as well as healthy older subjects (HS, n=38). BDNF serum concentrations
were compared across diagnoses and correlated with cognitive tests and patterns of brain atrophy using voxelbased
morphometry. We found small negative correlations between BDNF serum concentrations and some of the cognitive
tests assessing learning, information processing speed and cognitive control in complex situations, however, BDNF
did not predict disease group membership despite adequate power. These findings suggest that BDNF serum concentration
may not be a reliable diagnostic biomarker to distinguish among neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, BDNF, frontotemporal dementia, mild cognitive impairment, neurotrophin, VBM, BDNF serum concentrations.
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