Introduction: Nerve growth factor (NGF) is one of the most abundant neurotrophic factors in the central nervous system and has been involved in several neuropsychiatric disorders.
Methods: We recruited 77 age- and gender-matched elderly subjects (38 with late-life depression, 17 with previous major depressive episode, and 22 healthy subjects in the comparison group). Serum concentration of NGF was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: NGF levels were significantly reduced in the depressed patients (p = 0.002) as compared with healthy elderly controls. Elderly control subjects with previous depressive episode also showed a significant reduction in NGF levels as compared with controls (p <0.01); NGF levels were similar between patients with current depressive episode and previous depressive episode (p = 0.2).
Conclusion: The present findings provide additional evidence to the relevance of reduced neurotrophic support in the pathophysiology of late-life depression. Also, reduced serum NGF level may be a state marker of depression in elderly subjects.
Copyright © 2013 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.