Prophylactic lithium response and polymorphism of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2005 Jul;38(4):166-70. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-871239.


Introduction: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been involved in the pathogenesis of bipolar mood disorder and in the mechanism of mood-normalizing action of lithium. The aim of this study was to find a possible association between lithium prophylactic effect in bipolar patients and two polymorphisms of BDNF gene.

Methods: Eighty-eight patients (35 males, 53 females) with bipolar illness were studied. Duration of lithium prophylaxis ranged between 5-27 years (mean 15 years). Three categories of prophylactic lithium response were delineated: excellent responders (ER), partial responders (PR) and non-responders (NR). All patients were genotyped for two polymorphisms of BDNF gene: Val66Met and -270C/T.

Results: The Val/Met genotype of Val66Met polymorphism occurred more frequently (p = 0.037) and there was a trend for a higher incidence of Met allele (p = 0.076), in ER than in NR. A trend for C/T genotype and T allele of -270C/T polymorphism was observed to occur more frequently in ER than in NR (p = 0.057 and p = 0.065, respectively).

Conclusion: The data obtained suggest that polymorphism of BDNF gene may be connected with a quality of lithium prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics*
  • Bipolar Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Lithium