Serum NPY and BNDF response to a behavioral stressor in alcohol-dependent and healthy control participants

Donna Meng, Ting Chin Wu, Uma Rao, Carol S. North, Hong Xiao, Martin A. Javors, Bryon Adinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Rationale Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been implicated in both the stress response and alcohol addiction. However, few studies have assessed the NPY and BDNF response to stress in alcoholdependent participants and the concurrent measure of NPY and BDNF has not been reported in human participants. Objective The purpose of this study was to concurrently assess serum NPYand BDNF, as well as adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol, in control and race- and aged-matched abstinent alcohol-dependent participants in response to a stress-inducing public-speaking task. Methods Basal and post-stress serum values of NPY and BDNF, as well as ACTH and cortisol, were assessed in 14 abstinent alcohol-dependent and ten healthy control male participants. Results Basal measures were stable over short periods of time and stress induced a significant increase in both NPY (p= 0.002) and BDNF (p=0.006) as well as ACTH (p<0.001) and cortisol (p<0.007). Alcohol-dependent and control groups did not significantly differ on any basal or stressinduced measure. Basal and delta responses of NPY and BDNF were not significantly correlated, and delta peak responses of NPY and BDNF did not correlate with one another or with their respective ACTH and cortisol responses. Conclusions These findings reveal that both serum NPY and BDNF are responsive to behavioral stressors, although their regulatory mechanisms appear to differ from one another and those of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Differences in basal and stress-induced responses of NPY and BDNF were not supported between control and abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Alcoholism
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Cortisol
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Psychological
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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