The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology 2016 Nov 17() pii pyw096
Brain-derived neurotrophic factors are known to be related to the psychopathology of major depressive disorder. However, studies focusing on drug-naïve first-episode patients are still rare.
Over a 6-year period, we examined the serum brain-derived neurotrophic factors levels in patients with ﬁrst-episode drug-naïve major depressive disorder and compared them with sex-matched healthy controls. We also investigated the relationships between serum brain-derived neurotrophic factors levels, suicidal behavior, and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores before and after a 4-week antidepressant treatment.
The baseline serum brain-derived neurotrophic factors levels of 71 patients were significantly lower than those of the controls (P=.017), and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores in 71 patients did not correlate with brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels were significantly lower in 13 suicidal major depressive disorder patients than in 58 nonsuicidal major depressive disorder patients (P=.038). Among 41 followed-up patients, there was no alteration in serum brain-derived neurotrophic factors levels after treatment with antidepressants (P=.126). In receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of using pretreatment brain-derived neurotrophic factors to estimate the response to treatment, the area under the curve was 0.684. The most suitable cut-off point was 6.1 ng/mL (sensitivity=78.6%, specificity = 53.8%).
Our data support the serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in patients with drug-naïve first-episode major depressive disorder were lower than those in the healthy controls, and patients with pretreatment brain-derived neurotrophic factors >6.1 ng/mL were more likely to be responders. Although the relationship of our results to the mechanism of drug action and pathophysiology of depression remains unclear, the measure may have potential use as a predictor of response to treatment. In the future, it needs a large sample to prove these results.