BDNF levels and genotype are associated with antipsychotic-induced weight gain in patients with chronic schizophrenia

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Aug;33(9):2200-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.npp.1301619. Epub 2007 Nov 7.


Recent evidence suggests that centrally released brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates eating behavior and metabolism that is responsible for body weight fluctuation. BDNF also may play an important role in the therapeutic action of antipsychotic medications. We investigated whether the Val66Met polymorphism of the BDNF gene affected weight gain after long-term antipsychotic treatment in schizophrenia. The polymorphism was genotyped in 196 Chinese patients with schizophrenia on long-term antipsychotic medication. Serum BDNF was measured in all patients and 50 normal controls. Mean body mass index (BMI) change was evaluated retrospectively by means of clinical records. The results showed that there was a significant relationship between the three BDNF Val/Met genotypes and mean BMI gain, with genotype having a strong effect on BMI gain in male but not female patients. BDNF levels were significantly lower in patients than normal controls, and negatively correlated with BMI gain in female but not male patients. Our results suggest that variation in the BDNF gene may be a risk factor for weight gain in male patients with schizophrenia on long-term antipsychotic treatment, and decreased BDNF levels may be associated with weight gain in females.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Methionine / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / blood
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Valine / genetics
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*
  • Weight Gain / genetics


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Methionine
  • Valine