Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurocognitive deficits in people with schizophrenia: A meta-analysis

Anthony O. Ahmed, Andrew M. Mantini, Daniel J. Fridberg, Peter F. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Studies suggest that the BDNF Val66Met (rs6265) polymorphism is associated with the incidence of schizophrenia and neurocognitive functioning. These associations appear to be however somewhat mixed. We conducted two separate meta-analyses to investigate (1) the association between the Val66Met polymorphism and neurocognition in people with schizophrenia and (2) the association between peripheral expression of BDNF and neurocognitive phenotypes. For the first aim, we identified 12 studies and 67 comparisons of Met allele carriers and Val homozygotes. These comparisons included 1890 people with schizophrenia (men=1465, women=553), of whom 972 were Met allele carriers and 918 were Val homozygotes. For the second aim, we identified five studies and 25 correlations of peripheral BDNF and neurocognitive scores. The meta-analysis for the second aim included 414 people with schizophrenia (men=292, women=170). First, we found non-significant difference between the genotype groups on most neurocognitive domains. Second, correlations between peripheral BDNF and neurocognitive phenotypes were minimal but we obtained significant effects for the reasoning and problem-solving domains; thus, higher levels of BDNF expression corresponded to better performance on reasoning/problem-solving tasks. The meta-analyses did not robustly establish an association between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and neurocognition in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 2015


  • BDNF
  • Neurocognition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Val66Met

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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