Psychiatry Investig.  2010 Dec;7(4):243-250.

The Role of BDNF as a Mediator of Neuroplasticity in Bipolar Disorder

Affiliations
  • 1Bipolar Disorder Program and Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. kapcz@terra.com.br
  • 2National Institute for Translational Medicine, INCT-TM, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  • 3Bipolar Disorders Program, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

The cognitive impairment and neuroanatomical changes that takes place among patients with bipolar disorder (BD) patients has been well described. Recent data suggest that changes in neuroplasticity, cell resilience and connectivity are the main neuropathological findings in BD. Data from differential lines of research converges to the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as an important contributor to the neuroplasticity changes described among BD patients. BDNF serum levels have been shown to be decreased in depressive and manic episodes, returning to normal levels in euthymia. BDNF has also been shown to decrease as the disorder progresses. Moreover, factors that negatively influence the course of BD, such as life stress and trauma have been shown to be associated with a decrease in BDNF serum levels. These findings suggest that BDNF plays a central role in the progression of BD. The present review discusses the role of BDNF as a mediator of the neuroplastic changes that occur in portion with mood episodes and the potential use of serum BDNF as a biomarker in BD.

Keyword

Bipolar disorder; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Neuroplasticity; Stress; Neurotrophins
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