J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2008 Jun;12(1):34-39.

Association Study Between Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Genetic Polymorphism and Treatment Responses of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor in Major Depressive Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. psylee.lee@smc.samsung.co.kr


Recent studies suggest that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play a critical role in both mechanism of antidepressant action and the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study is to evaluate whether the BDNF-gene Val66Met polymorphism is associated with susceptibility of MDD, and antidepressant response in a Korean population.
To explain genetic susceptibility of MDD, we genotyped the BDNF-gene Val66Met polymorphism in 137 patients with MDD and 91 age- and sex-similar control subjects. we also examined the association of the BDNF-gene Val66Met polymorphism and therapeutic response in 137 MDD patients who received a 6-week Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) treatment.
There were no significant differences in the genotype or allele frequency of the BDNF polymorphism, between the MDD and control subjects. Furthermore, no significant differences were noted in the three-genotype groups (Val/Val, Val/Met, Met/Met) between responders and non-responders. However, heterozygous patients (Val/Met) in comparison to homozygous analogs (Val/Val or Met/Met) in BDNF polymorphism tended to have more improved 6-week antidepressant response (p=0.053). In addition, higher total HAM-D-score percentage change after 6 weeks of antidepressant medication was demonstrated for the heterozygote patients in comparison to homozygous analogs (p=0.006).
This finding suggests the BDNF polymorphism is associated with improved therapeutic SSRI response for patients bearing the BDNF Val/Met heterozygote in comparison to the homozygous analogs.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Val66Met polymorphism; Major depressive disorder; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
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