Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor is associated with reduced appetite in healthy older adults

Kelly M. Stanek, J. Gunstad, T. Leahey, E. Glickman, T. Alexander, M. B. Spitznagel, J. Juvancic-Heltzel, L. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Loss of appetite and body mass are common in older adults and are associated with negative consequences. Research indicates that these processes likely involve increases in serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Animal and human models demonstrate that BDNF may serve a regulatory function in food intake, but no study has addressed the possibility that BDNF may be involved in appetite reduction and loss of body mass in older adults. Design and Participants: 34 older adults without significant neurological or psychiatric history underwent fasting blood draw and measurement of body composition. Appetite and eating behavior were assessed by questionnaire and related to serum BDNF levels. Results: Partial correlations showed serum BDNF levels were inversely related to appetite (r = -.38, p = .02). No significant correlations emerged between serum BDNF and age, diet, or body composition. Conclusions: The current study extends past work and shows that BDNF is associated with appetite in healthy older adults. Further work is needed to clarify mechanisms for these findings, particularly prospective studies. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-185
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetite
  • Body composition
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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