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Measuring and validating the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in human serum

Naegelin, Yvonne, Dingsdale, Hayley, Saeuberli, Katharina, Schädelin, Sabine, Kappos, Ludwig and Barde, Yves-Alain 2018. Measuring and validating the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in human serum. eNeuro 5 (2) , e0419-17.2018. 10.1523/ENEURO.0419-17.2018

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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) secreted by neurons is a significant component of synaptic plasticity. In humans, it is also present in blood platelets where it accumulates following its biosynthesis in megakaryocytes. BDNF levels are thus readily detectable in human serum and it has been abundantly speculated that they may somehow serve as an indicator of brain function. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the range of BDNF levels that can be considered normal, how stable these values are over time and even whether BDNF levels can be reliably measured in serum. Using monoclonal antibodies and a sandwich ELISA, this study reports on BDNF levels in the serum of 259 volunteers with a mean value of 32.69 ± 8.33 ng/ml (SD). The mean value for the same cohort after 12 months was not significantly different (N = 226, 32.97 ± 8.36 ng/ml SD, p = 0.19). Power analysis of these values indicates that relatively large cohorts are necessary to identify significant differences, requiring a group size of 60 to detect a 20% change. The levels determined by ELISA could be validated by Western blot analyses using a BDNF monoclonal antibody. While no association was observed with gender, a weak, positive correlation was found with age. The overall conclusions are that BDNF levels can be reliably measured in human serum, that these levels are quite stable over one year, and that comparisons between two populations may only be meaningful if cohorts of sufficient sizes are assembled.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 2373-2822
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 26 February 2018
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 02:11

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