RESEARCH ARTICLE


Decreased Levels of Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Male Pediatric Patients with Depression



Tsuyoshi Sasaki*, 1, Tomihisa Niitsu2, Tasuku Hashimoto3, Nobuhisa Kanahara3, Akihiro Shiina3, Tadashi Hasegawa3, Hiroshi Kimura3, Maki Ishikawa4, Junko Tone1, Atsushi Yamauchi1, Yutaka Hosoda1, Masaru Kunou5, Junpei Takahashi5, Tamaki Ishima6, Yuko Fujita6, Michiko Nakazato1, 2, Kenji Hashimoto6, Masaomi Iyo1, 3, 6
1 Department of Child Psychiatry, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan
2 Research Center for Child Mental Development, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan
3 Department of Psychiatry, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan
4 Chiba Psychiatric Medical Center, Toyosuna 5, Chiba 261-0024, Japan
5 Department of Child Psychiatry, Chiba Aoba Municipal Hospital, Aoba-Chou 1273-2, Chiba 260-0852, Japan
6 Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chiba 260-8670, Japan


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© 2011 Sasakiet al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Child Psychiatry,Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan; Tel: +81-43-226-2297; Fax: +81-43-226-2297; E-mail: sasaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp


Abstract

Background: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Several meta-analyses have shown decreased serum levels of BDNF in adult patients with MDD, but there has been no report on the serum levels of BDNF in pediatric patients with depression. In this study, we investigated whether serum levels of BDNF are altered in pediatric patients with depression.

Methods: We measured serum BDNF levels in the following four groups: male pediatric patients with depression (n = 13), female pediatric patients with depression (n = 17), and age-matched normal control subjects (n = 10 for Male, n=12 for Female). Patients were evaluated using the Children's Depression Rating Scale Revised (CDRS-R). Serum levels of BDNF were measured with the sandwich ELISA method.

Results: Serum levels (6.97 ± 3.69 ng/mL [mean ± SD]) of BDNF in male pediatric patients with depression were significantly (p=0.019) lower than those (10.67 ± 3.11 ng/mL) in the male control group. However, there was no difference between the female pediatric patients with depression (9.29 ± 4.61 ng/mL) and the female control group (10.21 ± 4.79 ng/mL). Furthermore, there was no correlation between serum levels of BDNF and CDRS-R scores in the pediatric patients with depression. Interestingly, there was a significant negative correlation (r = -0.683, p=0.010) between the serum BDNF levels and the duration of illness in male, but not female, pediatric patients with depression.

Conclusions: This study suggests that low BDNF levels may play a role in the pathophysiology of male pediatric patients with depression.

Keywords: Biomarker, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Pediatric depression, Serum.