Effects of crack cocaine addiction and stress-related genes on peripheral BDNF levels

Diego L. Rovaris, Jaqueline B. Schuch, Rodrigo Grassi-Oliveira, Breno Sanvicente-Vieira, Bruna S. da Silva, Consuelo Walss-Bass, Diana Müller, Anderson R. Stolf, Lisia von Diemen, Keila M M Ceresér, Thiago G. Pianca, Claudia M. Szobot, Felix H P Kessler, Tatiana Roman, Claiton H D Bau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1), corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) genes on susceptibility to crack cocaine addiction and BDNF levels. Crack addicted patients who sought treatment (n = 280) and non-addicted individuals (n = 241) were assessed. Three SNPs in NR3C1 (rs6198, rs41423247, and rs10052957), three in CRHR1 (rs12944712, rs110402, and rs878886), and one in BDNF (rs6265) were genotyped. No significant effect was seen in the case-control analyses. Crack cocaine addicted patients showed significantly lower serum BDNF levels. Significant effects were observed for NR3C1 rs41423247 and rs10052957. These effects were restricted to non-addicted individuals and they were supported by significant gene-by-disease status interactions. For CRHR1, all SNPs were associated with BDNF levels. Although there were significant effects only in the analysis restricted to non-addicted individuals, the lack of significant results in the gene-by-disease status interaction analyses suggest a general effect on BDNF levels. The haplotype analyses presented the same effect seen in the single marker analyses. This study suggests that SNPs in the NR3C1 and CRHR1 genes may influence BDNF levels, but this effect is blunted in the context of crack cocaine addiction. Therefore, our data may be interpreted in light of several studies showing pronounced effects of crack cocaine on BDNF levels. Since peripheral BDNF is a biomarker for several psychiatric phenotypes, our results may be useful in interpreting previous associations between stress-related SNPs, drug addiction, and depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BDNF
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • NR3C1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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