Serum brain-derived neurotropic factor level predicts adverse clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure

J Card Fail. 2015 Apr;21(4):300-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Background: Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) is involved in cardiovascular diseases as well as skeletal muscle energy metabolism and depression. We investigated whether serum BDNF level was associated with prognosis in patients with heart failure (HF).

Methods and results: We measured the serum BDNF level in 58 patients with HF (59.2 ± 13.7 years old, New York Heart Association functional class I-III) at baseline, and adverse events, including all cardiac deaths and HF rehospitalizations, were recorded during the median follow-up of 20.3 months. In a univariate analysis, serum BDNF levels were significantly associated with peak oxygen capacity (β = 0.547; P = .003), anaerobic threshold (β = 0.929; P = .004), and log minute ventilation/carbon dioxide production slope (β = -10.15; P = .005), but not Patient Health Questionnaire scores (β = -0.099; P = .586). A multivariate analysis demonstrated that serum BDNF level was an independent prognostic factor of adverse events (hazard ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.20-0.84; P = .003). The receiver operating characteristic curve demonstrated that low levels of BDNF (<17.4 ng/mL) were associated with higher rates of adverse events compared with high levels of BDNF (≥17.4 ng/mL; log rank test: P < .001).

Conclusions: Decreased serum BDNF levels were significantly associated with adverse outcomes in HF patients, suggesting that these levels can be a useful prognostic biomarker.

Keywords: Heart failure; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; exercise capacity; prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / blood*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor