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Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in patients with multiple sclerosis.

  • Author(s): Naegelin, Yvonne;
  • Saeuberli, Katharina;
  • Schaedelin, Sabine;
  • Dingsdale, Hayley;
  • Magon, Stefano;
  • Baranzini, Sergio;
  • Amann, Michael;
  • Parmar, Katrin;
  • Tsagkas, Charidimos;
  • Calabrese, Pasquale;
  • Penner, Iris Katharina;
  • Kappos, Ludwig;
  • Barde, Yves-Alain
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

To determine the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the serum of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) to evaluate the potential of serum BDNF as a biomarker for MS.

Methods

Using a recently validated enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) we measured BDNF in patients with MS (pwMS), diagnosed according to the 2001 McDonald criteria and aged between 18 and 70 years, participating in a long-term cohort study with annual clinical visits, including blood sampling, neuropsychological testing, and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results were compared with an age- and sex-matched cohort of healthy controls (HC). Correlations between BDNF levels and a range of clinical and magnetic resonance imaging variables were assessed using an adjusted linear model.

Results

In total, 259 pwMS and 259 HC were included, with a mean age of 44.42 ± 11.06 and 44.31 ± 11.26 years respectively. Eleven had a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), 178 relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), 56 secondary progressive MS (SPMS), and 14 primary progressive MS (PPMS). Compared with controls, mean BDNF levels were lower by 8 % (p˂0.001) in pwMS. The level of BDNF in patients with SPMS was lower than in RRMS (p = 0.004).

Interpretation

We conclude that while the use of comparatively large cohorts enables the detection of a significant difference in BDNF levels between pwMS and HC, the difference is small and unlikely to usefully inform decision-making processes at an individual patient level.

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