Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in different neurological diseases

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:901082. doi: 10.1155/2013/901082. Epub 2013 Aug 19.


Consistent evidence indicates the involvement of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, we compared serum BDNF in 624 subjects: 266 patients affected by AD, 28 by frontotemporal dementia (FTD), 40 by Lewy body dementia (LBD), 91 by vascular dementia (VAD), 30 by PD, and 169 controls. Our results evidenced lower BDNF serum levels in AD, FTD, LBD, and VAD patients (P < 0.001) and a higher BDNF concentration in patients affected by PD (P = 0.045). Analyses of effects of pharmacological treatments suggested significantly higher BDNF serum levels in patients taking mood stabilizers/antiepileptics (P = 0.009) and L-DOPA (P < 0.001) and significant reductions in patients taking benzodiazepines (P = 0.020). In conclusion, our results support the role of BDNF alterations in neurodegenerative mechanisms common to different forms of neurological disorders and underline the importance of including drug treatment in the analyses to avoid confounding effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Dementia, Vascular / blood
  • Female
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / blood
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / blood*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Benzodiazepines