ABSTRACT Background: Depression is often viewed as a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), however little is known regarding the underlying biological mechanisms linking these two diseases. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been linked to both cognitive impairment and depression in past research; however few studies have ex-amined this relation in a sample of Alzheimer's patients. The present study sought to address this gap in the literature by examining the relation between serum BDNF levels and depression assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) in a group of patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease. Methods: Participants included 169 individuals diagnosed with Probable AD enrolled in the TARC Longitudinal Research Cohort with available BDNF levels and GDS scores. The participants were divided into Depressed (N = 20) and Not Depressed (N = 149) based on GDS scores. Re-sults: BDNF levels significantly predicted level (High vs. Low) of depression (β = 0.066, SE = 0.031, p = 0.034). BDNF levels for the Depressed group were significantly higher than those observed in the Not Depressed group (p. > 0.036). Conclusions: These findings suggest that an upregulation of BDNF possibly exists among depressed AD patients as a response to the chronic inflammatory processes that occur in depression. This upregulation of BDNF appears to persist at least into early stages of Alzheimer's.
Cite this paper
nullJ. Hall, S. O'Bryant, L. Johnson and R. Barber, "Depression and Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels in Alzheimer's Disease," Neuroscience and Medicine, Vol. 2 No. 1, 2011, pp. 43-47. doi: 10.4236/nm.2011.21006.
 R. L. Ownby, E. Crocco, A. Acevedo , V. John and P. Loewenstein, “Depression and Risk for Alzheimer Dis-ease: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Metare-gression Analysis,” Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 5, May 2006, pp. 530-538.
M. Houde, H. Bergman, V. Whitehead and H. Chertkow, “A Predictive Depression Pattern in Mild Cognitive Im-pairment,” International Journal of Geriatric Psychophar-macology, Vol. 23, No.10, October 2008, pp. 1028-1033.
H. B. Lee and C. G. Lyketsos, “Depression in Alzheimer’s Disease: Heterogeneity and Related Issues,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 54, No. 3, August 2003, pp. 353-362.
F. Karege, G. Bondolfi, N. Gervasoni, M. Schwald, J. M. Aubry and G. Bertschy, “Low Brain-Derived Neurotro-phic Factor (BDNF) Levels in Serum of Depressed Pa-tients Probably Results from Lowered Platelet BDNF Release Unrelated to Platelet Reactivity,” Biological Psy-chiatry, Vol. 57, No. 9, May 2005, pp. 1068-1072.
C. W. Cotman, “The Role of Neurotrophins in Brain Ag-ing: A Perspective in Honor of Regino Perez-Polo,” Neu-rochemical Research, Vol. 30, No. 6-7, June-July 2005, pp. 877-881. doi:10.1007/s11064-005-6960-y
F. Caraci, A. Copani, F. Nicoletti and F. Drago, “Depres-sion and Alzheimer’s Disease: Neurobiological Links and Common Pharmacological Targets,” European Journal of Pharmacology, Vol. 626, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 64-71.
A. R. Brunoni, M. Lopes and F. Fregni, “A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Studies on Major Depression and BDNF Levels: Implications for the Role of Neuroplasticity in Depression,” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 11, No. 8, December 2008, pp. 1169-1180.
F. Karege, G. Perret, G. Bondolfi, M. Schwald, G. Bertschy and J. M. Aubry, “Decreased Serum Brain-Derived Neu-rotrophic Factor Levels in Major Depressed Patients,” Psychiatry Research, Vol. 109, No. 2, March 2002, pp. 143-148. doi:10.1016/S0165-1781(02)00005-7
C. Yasutake, K. Kuroda, T. Yanagawa, T. Okamura and H. Yoneda, “Serum BDNF, TNF-Alpha and IL-1Beta Levels in Dementia Patients: Comparison between Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia,” European Archives of Psychiatry Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 256, No. 7, Octo-ber 2006, pp. 402-406.
C. Laske, E. Stransky, T. Letyhe, G. W. Eschweiler, W. Maetzler, A. Wittorf, S. Soekadar, E. Richartz, N. Koehler, M. Bartels, G. Buchkremer and K. Schott, “BDNF Serum and CSF Concentrations in Alzheimer’s Disease, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and Healthy Controls,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 41, No. 5, August 2007, pp. 387-394. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2006.01.014
S. E. O’Bryant, B. Hobson, J. R. Hall, S. C. Waring, W. Chan, P. Massman, L. Lacritz, C. Munro Cullum and R. Diaz-Arrastia, “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Lev-els in Alzheimer’s Disease,” Journal of Alzheimers Dis-ease, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2009, pp. 337-341.
C. Laske C, E. Stransky, G. Eschweiler, A. Wittorf, E. Richartz-Salzburger, M. Bartels, G. Buchkremer and K. Schott, “BDNF Serum Concentrations in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease are Associated with Depressive Mood States,” Neurology, Psychiatry, and Brain Re-search, Vol. 12, 2005, pp. 1-4.
J. G. Lee, B. S. Shin, Y. S. You, J. E. Kim, S. W. Yoon, D. W. Jeon, J. H. Baek, S. W. Park and Y. H. Kim, “De-creased Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels in Elderly Korean with Dementia,” Psychiatry Investiga-tion, Vol. 6, No. 4, December 2009, pp. 299-305.
S. Waring, S. E. O’Bryant, J. S. Reisch, R. Diaz-Arrastia, J. Knebl and R. Doody, “The Texas Alzheimer’s Research Consortium Longitudinal Research Cohort: Study Design and Baseline Characteristics,” Texas Public Health Jour-nal, Vol. 60, No. 3, 2008, pp. 9-13.
D. McKhann, D. Drachman, M. Folstein, R. Katzman, C. Price and E. M. Stadlan, “Clinical Diagnosis of Alz-heimer’s Disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the Auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force of Alzheimer’s Disease,” Neurology, Vol. 34, No. 7, July 1984, pp. 939-944.
C. Laske, E. Stransky, T. Leyhe, G. W. Eschweiler, A. Wittorf, E. Richartz, M. Bartels, G. Buchkremer and K. Schott, “Stage-Dependent BDNF Serum Concentrations in Alzheimer’s Disease,” Journal of Neural Transmission, Vol. 113, No. 9, September 2006, pp. 1217-1224.
F. Angelucci, G. Spalletta, F. di Iulio, A. Ciaramella, F. Salani, L. Colantoni, A. E. Varsi, W. Gianni, G. Sancesa-rio, C. Caltagirone and P. Bossù, “Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) Patients are Characterized by Increased BDNF Serum Levels,” Cur-rent Alzheimer Research, Vol. 7, No. 1, February 2010, pp. 15-20. doi:10.2174/156720510790274473
M. Maes, R. Yirmyia, J. Noraberg, S. Brene, J. Hibbeln, G. Perini, M. Kubera, P. Bob, B. Lerer and M. Maj,” The inflammatory & Neurodegenerative (I&ND) Hypothesis of Depression: Leads for Future Research and New Drug Developments in Depression,” Metabolic Brain Disease, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 27-53.
S. E. O’Bryant, G. Xiao, R. Barber, J. Reisch, R. Doody, T. Fairchild, P. Adams, S. Waring and R. Diaz-Arrastia, “A Serum Protein-Based Algorithm for the Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease,” Archives of Neurology, Vol. 67, No. 9, September 2010, pp. 1077-1081.