Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), one of the most abundant and important neurotrophins, is known to be involved in the development, survival, maintenance, and plasticity of neurons in the nervous system. Some studies have suggested that BDNF may play a role in the pathophysiology of several psychiatric illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. Similarly, it is likely that the alteration of BDNF may be associated with the neuro-modulation that contributes to the development of somatization disorder.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an abnormality of plasma BDNF levels in patients with somatization disorder, and to analyze the nature of the alteration after pharmacotherapy using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
The plasma BDNF levels of the patients with a somatization disorder were significantly lower compared with those of the control volunteers (83.61±89.97 pg/mL vs. 771.36±562.14 pg/mL); moreover, the plasma BDNF levels of those patients who received an antidepressant were significantly increased after the treatment (118.13±91.45 pg/mL vs. 72.92±88.21 pg/mL).