Nerve growth factor (NGF) is an important member of the neurotrophins group and their involvement in the pathophysiology of major depression disorder (MDD) and suicide risk (SR) has been recently suggested. The aim of this study is to evaluate the changes in NGF serum levels in individuals with MDD and with or without risk of suicide, in subjects from a young population-based sample. This is a paired cross-sectional study nested in a population-based study. Individuals were rated for MDD and SR by a diagnostic interview--Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I). The total population of the sample was comprised of 141 subjects distributed in three groups: 47 healthy controls, 47 subjects with current depressive episode without SR (MDD) and 47 subjects with current depressive episode and with SR (MDD + SR). NGF serum levels were significantly reduced in the MDD and MDD + SR groups when compared with controls (p ≤ 0.001). However, there were no differences in NGF levels between the MDD and MDD + SR groups (p = 1.000). These results suggest that reduced NGF serum levels can be a possible biomarker of MDD.
Keywords: Major depressive disorder; Nerve growth factor; Suicide risk.
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