Current Alzheimer Research

Prof. Debomoy K. Lahiri  
Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine
Neuroscience Research Center
Indianapolis, IN 46202


BDNF Serum Concentrations Show No Relationship with Diagnostic Group or Medication Status in Neurodegenerative Disease

Author(s): Josh D. Woolley, Eric V. Strobl, Wendy B. Shelly, Anna M. Karydas, R. N. Robin Ketelle, Owen M. Wolkowitz, Bruce L. Miller and Katherine P. Rankin

Affiliation: University of California San Francisco, Langley Porter, Department of Psychiatry, 401 Parnassus Avenue, Room 159, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, BDNF, frontotemporal dementia, mild cognitive impairment, neurotrophin, VBM, BDNF serum concentrations.


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.

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Article Details

Page: [815 - 821]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/156720512802455395