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      Meta-analyses of comparative efficacy of antidepressant medications on peripheral BDNF concentration in patients with depression

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          Abstract

          Background

          Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the most important regulatory proteins in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Increasing numbers of studies have reported the relationship between serum/plasma BDNF and antidepressants (ADs). However, the potential effects of several classes of antidepressants on BDNF concentrations are not well known. Hence, our meta-analyses aims to review the effects of differential antidepressant drugs on peripheral BDNF levels in MDD and make some recommendations for future research.

          Methods

          Electronic databases including PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and PsycINFO were searched from 1980 to June 2016. The change in BDNF levels were compared between baseline and post-antidepressants treatment by use of the standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). All statistical tests were two-sided.

          Results

          We identified 20 eligible trials of antidepressants treatments for BDNF in MDD. The overall effect size for all drug classes showed that BDNF levels were elevated following a course of antidepressants use. For between-study heterogeneity by stratification analyses, we detect that length of treatment and blood samples are significant effect modifiers for BDNF levels during antidepressants treatment. While both SSRIs and SNRIs could increase the BDNF levels after a period of antidepressant medication treatment, sertraline was superior to other three drugs (venlafaxine, paroxetine or escitalopram) in the early increase of BDNF concentrations with SMD 0.53(95% CI = 0.13–0.93; P = 0.009).

          Conclusions

          There is some evidence that treatment of antidepressants appears to be effective in the increase of peripheral BDNF levels. More robust evidence indicates that different types of antidepressants appear to induce differential effects on the BDNF levels. Since sertraline makes a particular effect on BDNF concentration within a short amount of time, there is potential value in exploring its relationship with BDNF and its pharmacological mechanism concerning peripheral blood BDNF. Further confirmatory trials are required for both observations.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Regulation of BDNF and trkB mRNA in rat brain by chronic electroconvulsive seizure and antidepressant drug treatments.

          The influence of chronic electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) or antidepressant drug treatments on expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, trkB, was examined by in situ hybridization and Northern blot. In frontal cortex, acute ECS increased BDNF mRNA approximately twofold, an effect significantly augmented by a prior course of chronic ECS treatment (10 d). In the hippocampus, the influence of chronic ECS varied between the major subfields. In the dentate gyrus granule cell layer, chronic ECS decreased the acute induction of BDNF and trkB mRNA by approximately 50%, but prolonged their expression: levels remained elevated two- to threefold 18 hr later after the last chronic ECS treatment, but returned to control 18 hr after acute ECS. In CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cell layers, chronic ECS significantly elevated the acute induction of BDNF, and tended to prolong the expression of BDNF and trkB mRNA. A similar effect was observed in layer 2 of the piriform cortex, where chronic ECS significantly increased the acute induction and prolonged the expression of BDNF and trkB mRNA. Chronic (21 d), but not acute (1 d), administration of several different antidepressant drugs, including tranylcypromine, sertraline, desipramine, or mianserin, significantly increased BDNF mRNA and all but mianserin increased trkB mRNA in hippocampus. In contrast, chronic administration of nonantidepressant psychotropic drugs, including morphine, cocaine, or haloperidol, did not increase levels of BDNF mRNA. Furthermore, chronic administration of ECS or antidepressant drugs completely blocked the down-regulation of BDNF mRNA in the hippocampus in response to restraint stress. The enhanced induction and prolonged expression of BDNF in response to chronic ECS and antidepressant drug treatments could promote neuronal survival, and protect neurons from the damaging effects of stress.
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            Decreased serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in major depressed patients.

            Recent findings with animal models have suggested a possible role for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depression. We have therefore hypothesized that depression could be characterized by low levels of serum BDNF. Major depressed patients (15F + 15M) diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria and healthy controls (15F + 15M) participated in the study. Serum BDNF was assayed with the ELISA method and the severity of depression was evaluated with Montgomery-Asberg-Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). BDNF levels were significantly lower in patients than in controls: 22.6 +/- 3 and 26.5 +/- 7 ng/ml (t-test = 2.7; d.f. = 58; P < 0.01). They were negatively correlated to the MADRS scores (r = -0.55; P < 0.02). Female patients were more depressed and released less BDNF than men. Analysis of covariance (MADRS and gender as independent variable vs. BDNF as dependent variable) indicated that depression severity mainly accounted for the negative correlation. These results suggest that major depression is characterized by low serum BDNF levels and support the hypothesis of neurotrophic factor involvement in affective disorders.
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              The role of BDNF and its receptors in depression and antidepressant drug action: Reactivation of developmental plasticity.

              Recent evidence suggests that neuronal plasticity plays an important role in the recovery from depression. Antidepressant drugs and electroconvulsive shock treatment increase the expression of several molecules, which are associated with neuronal plasticity, in particular the neurotrophin BDNF and its receptor TrkB. Furthermore, these treatments increase neurogenesis and synaptic numbers in several brain areas. Conversely, depression, at least in its severe form, is associated with reduced volumes of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and in at least some cases these neurodegenerative signs can be attenuated by successful treatment. Such observations suggest a central role for neuronal plasticity in depression and the antidepressant effect, and also implicate BDNF signaling as a mediator of this plasticity. The antidepressant fluoxetine can reactivate developmental-like neuronal plasticity in the adult visual cortex, which, under appropriate environmental guidance, leads to the rewiring of a developmentally dysfunctional neural network. These observations suggest that the simple form of the neurotrophic hypothesis of depression, namely, that deficient levels of neurotrophic support underlies mood disorders and increases in these neurotrophic factors to normal levels brings about mood recovery, may not sufficiently explain the complex process of recovery from depression. This review discusses recent data on the role of BDNF and its receptors in depression and the antidepressant response and suggests a model whereby the effects of antidepressant treatments could be explained by a reactivation of activity-dependent and BDNF-mediated cortical plasticity, which in turn leads to the adjustment of neuronal networks to better adapt to environmental challenges.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                27 February 2017
                2017
                : 12
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Neurology, Yongchuan Hospital, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
                [2 ]College of Computer and Information Science, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
                [3 ]Institute of Life Sciences, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
                [4 ]Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
                [5 ]Department of neurology, University-town hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
                [6 ]Department of Physics, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
                Chiba Daigaku, JAPAN
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                • Conceptualization: TL YL.

                • Data curation: CZ JC.

                • Formal analysis: CZ JZ.

                • Funding acquisition: YL.

                • Investigation: YL LZ.

                • Methodology: CZ JC ZQ.

                • Project administration: YL.

                • Resources: YL XZ.

                • Software: BZ XD.

                • Supervision: YL ZQ.

                • Validation: CZ JZ LF.

                • Visualization: CZ TL.

                • Writing – original draft: CZ YL.

                • Writing – review & editing: TL CZ.

                Article
                PONE-D-16-40295
                10.1371/journal.pone.0172270
                5328267
                28241064
                © 2017 Zhou et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, Pages: 18
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Scientific and Technological Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission
                Award ID: NO.KJ1600223
                Award Recipient :
                The work was supported by Scientific and Technological Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (grant no. KJ1600223).
                Categories
                Research Article
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Pharmacology
                Drugs
                Antidepressants
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Mental Health and Psychiatry
                Mood Disorders
                Depression
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Mathematical and Statistical Techniques
                Statistical Methods
                Meta-Analysis
                Physical Sciences
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                Meta-Analysis
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                Biology and Life Sciences
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