Serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor correlate with motor impairment in Parkinson's disease

Paula Scalzo, Arthur Kümmer, Thales Lage Bretas, Francisco Cardoso, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a potent inhibitor of apoptosis-mediated cell death and neurotoxin-induced degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. There is a growing body of evidence implicating BDNF in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting it may eventually be used in the development of neuroprotective therapies for PD. The serum BDNF of 47 PD patients and of 23 control subjects was assessed, and serum BNDF levels were significantly decreased in PD patients when compared with controls (p = 0.046). Interestingly enough, BDNF correlated positively with a longer time span of the disease, as well as with the severity of the PD symptoms and with more advanced stages of the disease. Additionally, higher BDNF levels also correlated with poor balance as assessed by the Berg Balance Scale, more time spent at the Timed Up & Go Test, reduced speed of gait and shorter distance walked during the Six-Minute Walk Test. Our results corroborate the literature regarding the involvement of BDNF in PD. We hypothesize that lower BDNF levels in early stages of the disease may be associated with pathogenic mechanisms of PD. The increase of BDNF levels with the progression of the disease may be a compensatory mechanism in more advanced stages of PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-545
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Depression
  • Motor impairment
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurotrophins
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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