Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity of the central and peripheral nervous system. BDNF appears to modulate nociceptive sensory inputs and pain hypersensitivity and has been studied in pathological situations, including chronic pain conditions and major depression.
Increased serum BDNF levels have been recently reported in fibromyalgia (FM).
In the present study, we assessed plasma BDNF levels in patients with FM and controls. Plasma BDNF was measured from 30 female patients with FM and 30 healthy age- and gender-matched volunteers using an enzyme immunoassay.
FM patients showed higher levels of BDNF (FM = 167.1 +/- 171.2 pg/mL) when compared with the control group (control = 113.8 +/- 149.6 pg/mL) (P = 0.049; Mann-Whitney test). Six out of 30 controls presented superior values to the medium (15/15) of the patients with fibromyalgia (129 pg/mL) (P = 0.029, Fisher exact test).
There was no correlation between plasma BDNF levels and age, disease duration, pain score, number of pain points and HAM-D [Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression] score.
Our results confirm previous findings of increased plasma BDNF levels in patients with FM, suggesting that BDNF may be involved in the pathophysiology of Fibromyalgia, despite [independent of?] high levels of depression.
Source: Neurochemical Research, Jan 30, 2010. PMID: 20119637, by Haas L, Portela LV, Böhmer AE, Oses JP, Lara DR. Departamento de Ciencias Fisiologicas, Faculdade de Biociencias, Pontifícia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.