Objectives: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been associated with depression and its treatment response. The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on serum and plasma BDNF levels and change of Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and their associations in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Methods: The study included thirty patients suffering from MDD. Their serum and plasma BDNF levels were examined before ECT (baseline) and after the first, fifth, and last ECT session. The severity of the depression and the response to ECT were measured with MADRS.
Results: Electroconvulsive therapy caused no significant changes in serum BDNF levels. Plasma BDNF levels decreased during the fifth ECT session between the baseline and the 2-hr samples (p = 0.019). No associations were found between serum or plasma BDNF levels and remission. The correlations between plasma and serum BDNF levels in each measurement varied between 0.187 and 0.636.
Conclusions: Neither serum nor plasma BDNF levels were systematically associated with the clinical remission. However, the plasma BDNF levels somewhat varied during the ECT series. Therefore, the predictive value of BDNF for effects of ECT appears to be at least modest.
Keywords: brain-derived neurotrophic factor; electroconvulsive therapy; major depressive disorder; neurotrophin.
© 2018 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.