Neurotrophic factors in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Izabela Guimarães Barbosa, Juliano Victor Luna, Natalia Pessoa Rocha, Aline Silva Miranda, Antonio Lucio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


In this cross-sectional study, we assessed the levels of neurotrophins (NF) of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in different stages of treatment and their relationship with OCD clinical features. Forty patients with OCD and 40 healthy controls had Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), and Glial Cell-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GNDF) plasma levels measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Patients with OCD were further examined with the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Patients with OCD exhibited significantly lower levels of BDNF and significantly increased levels of NGF as compared to healthy controls. In OCD, statistically significant negative correlations between BDNF levels and number of working days lost per week were found. Additional analyses revealed a statistically significant positive correlation between both NGF and GDNF and severity of washing symptoms. Plasma levels of NF were not affected by age, age at OCD onset, gender, major depressive disorder, the relative dose of serotonin-reuptake inhibitors being prescribed, or the use of antipsychotics. Our findings suggest that patients with OCD may exhibit a particular NF profile, with functional impairment correlating with BDNF levels and severity of washing symptoms correlating with NGF and GDNF levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 30 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • BDNF
  • GDNF
  • Neurotrophins
  • NGF
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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