Preclinical and clinical studies gave evidence that lithium could be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In experimental investigations, lithium induces brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Recent studies have found a decrease of BDNF in the serum and brains of AD patients with potentially consecutive lack of neurotrophic support. We assessed the influence of a lithium treatment on BDNF serum concentration in a subset of a greater sample recruited for a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group multicenter 10-week study, investigating the efficacy of lithium treatment in AD patients. In AD patients treated with lithium, a significant increase of BDNF serum levels, and additionally a significant decrease of ADAS-Cog sum scores in comparison to placebo-treated patients, were found. Diminution of cognitive impairment was inversely correlated with lithium serum concentration. Upregulation of BDNF might be part of a neuroprotective effect of lithium in AD patients. The results of the present investigation encourage performing studies with longer treatment phases to observe potential positive long-term effects of lithium in AD patients.