Diurnal variation of plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in humans: an analysis of sex differences

Chronobiol Int. 2008 Sep;25(5):819-26. doi: 10.1080/07420520802387773.


Scant information is available on the diurnal variation of peripheral neurotrophic factors, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in human beings. We explored plasma and serum BDNF levels at three different clock times in a study of 28 healthy subjects of both sexes. Statistically significant diurnal variation in plasma BDNF level was detected in men, with the peak at 08:00 h and nadir at 22:00 h. At this time, the plasma BDNF concentration of men was significantly lower than that of women (p=.02). However, no diurnal variation was found either in plasma BDNF of women, in either the follicular or luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, or in serum BDNF level in both men and women. These findings support the concept of rhythmic variation in plasma BDNF regulation that seems to be sex-related.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Time Factors


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor