Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Correlates with Depression Intensity in Fibromyalgia Patients

[Note: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that is a member of the neurotrophin family of growth factors.  It acts on certain types of nerve cells, enabling them to grow and survive.  It is primarily located in the central nervous system, where it acts on cells in the brain and the eye.]


Serum level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in fibromyalgia syndrome correlates with depression but not anxiety.
– Source: Neurochemistry International, January 11, 2013

By B. Nugraha, C. Korallus and C. Gutenbrunner


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been known to play a role in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients. Depression and anxiety are quite common additional symptoms in FMS. However the role of BDNF in these symptoms still needs to be elucidated. Although BDNF has been shown to be relevant in major depression, however studies could not show such differences between FMS patients with and without major depression.

As mood-related symptom occurs frequently and differs in its intensity in FMS patients, BDNF level should be measured in subgroup regarding depression and anxiety scale. Therefore the aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation of BDNF in serum of FMS with intensity of depression and anxiety. Additionally, interleukin (IL)-6 was measured.

  • This study showed that serum level of BDNF was age-dependent in Hcs [healthy controls].

  • FMS patients had higher level of serum BDNF as compared to HC.

  • Additionally, serum level of BDNF showed correlation with depression, but not with anxiety.

  • Serum level of BDNF increased with depression score in FMS.

  • However, serum level of IL-6 was not correlated with both depression and anxiety scores.

Taken together, BDNF is involved in the pathophysiology of FMS. Additionally, it seems to be correlated with intensity of depressive symptoms in FMS.

Source: Neurochemistry International, January 11, 2013. By B. Nugraha, C. Korallus and C. Gutenbrunner. Deparment of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany; Deparment of Chemistry, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia. Electronic address:

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