Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in fibromyalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its role as a potential biomarker

Amir Hossein Behnoush, Amirmohammad Khalaji, Shaghayegh Khanmohammadi, Parsa Alehossein, Behrad Saeedian, Parnian Shobeiri, Antonio L. Teixeira, Nima Rezaei

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1 Scopus citations


Background Fibromyalgia (FM) is a form of chronic pain disorder accompanied by several tender points, fatigue, sleeping and mood disturbances, cognitive dysfunction, and memory problems. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is also a mediator of neurotrophin for many activity-dependent processes in the brain. Despite numerous research studies investigating BDNF in FM, contradictory results have been reported. Thus, we investigated the overall effect shown by studies to find the association between peripheral BDNF concentrations and its gene polymorphisms with FM. Methods A systematic search in online international databases, including PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, the Web of Science, and Scopus was performed. Relevant studies assessing BDNF levels or gene polymorphism in patients with FM and comparing them with controls were included. Case reports, reviews, and non-English studies were excluded. We conducted the random-effect meta-analysis to estimate the pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) or odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Results Twenty studies were found to be included composed of 1,206 FM patients and 1,027 controls. The meta-analysis of 15 studies indicated that the circulating BDNF levels were significantly higher in FM (SMD 0.72, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.31; p-value = 0.02). However, no difference between the rate of Val/Met carrier status at the rs6265 site was found (p-value = 0.43). Using meta-regression, the sample size and age variables accounted for 4.69% and 6.90% of the observed heterogeneity of BDNF level analysis, respectively. Conclusion Our meta-analysis demonstrated that FM is correlated with increased peripheral BDNF levels. This biomarker's diagnostic and prognostic value should be further investigated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0296103
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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