Reduced serum nerve growth factor in patients with late-life depression

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2013 May;21(5):493-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.01.014. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / blood*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Growth Factor / blood*
  • Remission Induction


  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factor