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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-18

The role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factors in the progression of bipolar disorders

1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
2 Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Heba Fathy
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJP.0000411123.49083.e0

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Bipolar disorder (BPD) is considered to be the most prevalent psychiatric conditions, and is also among the most severe and debilitating. It was suggested that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. BDNF appears to be an unspecific biomarker of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by neurodegenerative changes.


The aim of the study was to investigate the association between BDNFs and progression of BPDs.

Participants and methods

After receiving approval from the ethical committee in kasr El Eini hospital, 80 participants were randomly selected in a comparative cross sectional study. The sample consisted of two groups: a group of patients with BPDs (n=40), including patients with manic, depressive, mixed episode, or in remission, and a control group (n=40). The patients were recruited from the psychiatric outpatient clinic. Patients were diagnosed by a lecturer of psychiatry according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition criteria. Psychometric procedure: the Hamilton rating scale of depression and the Young Mania Rating Scale were used: laboratory: Radio-immune assay of BDNFs was carried out.


Fifty-five percent of the patients in the bipolar group had three or more episodes. There was a statistically significant difference between the cases and the controls in the level of BDNF. There was a negative correlation between the BDNF and the number of episodes (P=0.000) and there was also a negative correlation between BDNF and disease duration (P=0.000). There were no correlations between BDNF and the diagnosis of BPD (P=0.3).


BDNF was lower than normal in bipolar patients and this was correlated with the number of episodes and duration of disease.

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