Significantly decreased mRNA levels of BDNF and MEK1 genes in treatment-resistant depression

Neuroreport. 2014 Jul 9;25(10):753-5. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000165.


The aim of the current study was to investigate whether the levels of mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) and a related gene MEK1 were more obviously decreased in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). In total, 50 patients with major depressive disorder (including 26 with TRD and 24 with treatment-responsive depression) and 48 healthy controls were enrolled. BDNF and MEK1 mRNA levels in blood samples from all patients and controls were measured using reverse transcriptase-PCR. BDNF and MEK1 mRNA levels were significantly reduced in patients with major depressive disorder when compared with healthy controls (BDNF: P<0.01; MEK1: P<0.001), as well as among treatment-resistant depressive patients as compared with treatment-responsive depressive patients (BDNF: P<0.001; MEK1: P<0.01). Our findings support the hypothesis that BDNF and MEK1 mRNA expression levels are more obviously decreased in patients with TRD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics*
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1 / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • RNA, Messenger
  • BDNF protein, human
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP2K1 protein, human