Background & objectives: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) facilitates neuronal survival, differentiation and synaptic connectivity and affects neurotransmission throughout the brain. However, it has also a modulatory role in energy homeostasis, obesity and cardiovascular function. Obesity, high body mass index (BMI) and dyslipidaemia, among other factors, contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD) development. The exact role of BDNF in development of CHD is not well defined. This study was aimed to evaluate if plasma BDNF concentration was associated with CHD in ethnically homogeneous groups of patients and to correlate plasma BDNF levels with known risk factors for CHD.
Methods: Plasma BDNF concentration, BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and other biological and anthropological risk factors for CHD were determined in 208 patients with CHD and 156 healthy controls.
Results: Plasma BDNF concentration was significantly (P <0.01) reduced in patients with CHD compared to controls, and it was not influenced by gender, age, smoking or BDNF Val66Met polymorphism. It was considerably correlated with cholesterol (P=0.004), low-density lipoprotein (P=0.006), and diastolic blood pressure (P=0.018) in patients with CHD and with platelet number (P=0.003) in healthy controls.
Interpretation & conclusions: The results revealed lower plasma BDNF concentration in patients with CHD, suggesting that decreased plasma BDNF concentration might be associated with CHD pathogenesis. Longitudinal studies with a large sample need to be conducted to confirm these findings.
Keywords: Body mass index; Caucasians; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; coronary heart disease; lipid profile; risk factors.