Association between sedentary behavior and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in children and adolescents: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2024 Mar 5;19(3):e0299024. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299024. eCollection 2024.


Background: There is evidence in the literature suggesting that high time spent in sedentary behavior (SB) can reduce the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels, an important neurotrophin that plays a role in modulating cognition, learning and memory. Children and adolescents usually spend many hours a day on SB, either sitting for a long time and/or using screen equipment.

Objective: The aim of this study is to describe a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol on the associations between SB and BDNF levels in children and adolescents.

Methods: This protocol is guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols and was published in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews database (PROSPERO: CRD42023392246). The databases that will be searched are EMBASE, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, and PubMed. Cross-sectional and cohort studies conducted with children and adolescents (5 to 19 yr) that analyzed the association between SB and BDNF will be included in the systematic review. The characteristics of the studies, methodological aspects, and main results will be described. Then, the risk of bias (assessed by STROBE and Newcastle-Ottawa scales) and the level of evidence (assessed by the GRADE tool) from included studies will be evaluated. Sub-group analysis will also be performed. Two experienced reviewers will perform the studies selection, data extraction, and methodological quality assessment.

Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis will analyze the association between SB and BDNF in children and adolescents. The results will provide subsidies to better understand this relationship and will strengthen evidence-based practice for both health professionals and future researches.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

Grants and funding

The research was funded in part by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, through the Postgraduate Pro-rectory, and the Postgraduate Program in Public Health. In addition, we thank the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for the incentive with the grant of a doctorate scholarship, finance code 001.