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The predictive therapeutic value of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its changes associated with the use of specific antidepressants are still unclear. In this study, we examined BDNF as a peripheral and NAA as a central biomarker over the time course of antidepressant treatment to specify both of their roles in the response to the medication and clinical outcome.
We examined serum BDNF (ELISA kit) in a sample of 76 (47 female and 29 male) depressed patients in a naturalistic setting.
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Decreased levels of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been linked to neuronal loss and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We previously found that BDNF serum concentration was predicted by the concentration of NAA in the ACC, indicating that neuronal integrity and vitality of a cortical region like the ACC, as reflected by a high concentration of NAA, might be related to high concentrations of BDNF in serum. Moreover, our recent finding that Val66Met genotype appears to predict the BDNF serum level in healthy human volunteers suggests the Met allele to be connected to higher concentrations of BDNF in serum.

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The "neurotrophin hypothesis" of depression posits a role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depression, although it is unknown whether BDNF is more involved in the etiology of depression or in the mechanism of action of antidepressants. It is also unknown whether pre-treatment serum BDNF levels predict antidepressant response.
Thirty un-medicated depressed subjects were treated with escitalopram (N=16) or sertraline (N=14) for 8 weeks.

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Depression, stress and antidepressant treatment have been found to modulate the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Recent research suggests that serum BDNF concentration is reduced in depression and that antidepressant treatment leads to an increase in serum BDNF concentration.
We studied depressed patients receiving a randomized antidepressant treatment with either mirtazapine (n=29) or venlafaxine (n=27) for 28 days in a prospective design.

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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in differentiation and repair of neurons in the adult brain. BDNF serum levels have been found to be lower in depressed patients than in healthy subjects. In a couple of studies, effective antidepressant treatment including electroconvulsive therapy led to an increase in BDNF serum levels.

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