Decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor plasma levels in psoriasis patients

Braz J Med Biol Res. 2015 Aug;48(8):711-4. doi: 10.1590/1414-431X20154574. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is associated with neuroplasticity and synaptic strength, and is decreased in conditions associated with chronic stress. Nevertheless, BDNF has not yet been investigated in psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory systemic disease that is exacerbated by stress. Therefore, our aim was to determine BDNF plasma levels in psoriasis patients and healthy controls. Adult patients (n=94) presenting with psoriasis for at least 1 year were enrolled, and age- and gender-matched with healthy controls (n=307) from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). Participants had neither a previous history of coronary artery disease nor current episode of major depression. BDNF plasma levels were determined using the Promega ELISA kit. A general linear model was used to compare BDNF levels in psoriasis patients and controls, with age, gender, systolic blood pressure, serum fasting glucose, blood lipid levels, triglycerides, smoking status, and body mass index examined. After adjusting for clinical and demographic variables, significantly decreased BNDF plasma levels were observed in psoriasis patients (P=0.01) (estimated marginal means of 3922 pg/mL; 95%CI=2660-5135) compared with controls (5788 pg/mL; 95%CI=5185-6442). Similar BDNF levels were found in both mild and severe cases of psoriasis. Our finding, that BDNF is decreased in psoriasis, supports the concept of a brain-skin connection in psoriasis. Further studies should determine if BDNF is increased after specific psoriasis treatments, and associated with different disease stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • BDNF protein, human