Background: The Glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is part of the TGF-β superfamily and is abundantly expressed in the central nervous system. Changes in GDNF homeostasis have been reported in affective disorders.
Aim: To assess serum GDNF concentration in elderly subjects with late-life depression, before antidepressant treatment, as compared to healthy elderly controls.
Methods: Thirty-four elderly subjects with major depression and 37 age and gender-matched healthy elderly controls were included in this study. Diagnosis of major depression was ascertained by the SCID interview for DSM-IV and the severity of depressive symptoms was assessed by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-21). Serum GDNF concentration were determined by sandwich ELISA.
Results: Patients with major depression showed a significant reduction in GDNF levels as compared to healthy elderly controls (p < 0.001). Also, GDNF level was negatively correlated with HDRS-21 scores (r = -0.343, p = 0.003).
Discussion: Our data provide evidence that GDNF may be a state marker of depressive episode in older adults. Changes in the homeostatic control of GDNF production may be a target to development of new antidepressant strategies.
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