Plasma BDNF levels vary in relation to body weight in females

Anilkumar Pillai, Davide Bruno, Antero S. Sarreal, Raymundo T. Hernando, Leslie A. Saint-Louis, Jay Nierenberg, Stephen D. Ginsberg, Nunzio Pomara, Pankaj D. Mehta, Henrik Zetterberg, Kaj Blennow, Peter F. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression as well as neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Recent studies show a role of BDNF in energy metabolism and body weight regulation. We examined BDNF levels in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from age matched elderly depressed and control subjects. Also, the association of BDNF levels with age, gender, body weight, body mass index (BMI), and cognitive performance was evaluated. We did not find any significant differences in plasma and CSF BDNF levels between depressed and control subjects. Plasma BDNF levels were negatively correlated with age (but not with BMI and body weight), when analyses were performed including both depressed and control subjects. A significant reduction in plasma BDNF levels was observed in females as compared to male subjects, and the change in BDNF levels were significantly and positively related to body weight in females. Furthermore, significant increases in Total Recall and Delayed Recall values were found in females as compared to males. In conclusion, the lower BDNF levels observed in females suggest that changes in peripheral BDNF levels are likely secondary to an altered energy balance. However, further studies using larger sample size are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere39358
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasma BDNF levels vary in relation to body weight in females'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this