Objective: To investigate the association between the level of serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (sBDNF) and the therapeutic efficacy of modified electroconvulsive therapy (MECT) in Chinese patients with depressive disorder.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with depressive episode and 28 healthy subjects were recruited in the current study. The sBDNF level was examined in all subjects before treatment and after a 2-week treatment with MECT in patients with depression. The severity of depression was measured according to the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression in patients with depression.
Results: The severity of depression reduced significantly in patients with depression after a 2-week treatment with MECT (31.39 [SD, 4.65] vs 8.14 [5.52], P < 0.001). Serum BDNF level in patients with depression was significantly lower than that of the control group before treatment (5.66 [SD, 2.07] vs 9.17 [SD, 1.26] ng/mL, P < 0.001), then increased remarkably to the level of control subjects 2 weeks after MECT (7.90 [SD, 3.42] ng/mL). The increasing rate of sBDNF in patients with depression was significantly correlated with the decreasing rate of the total 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score (r = 0.532, P = 0.004) and cluster scores of cognitive dysfunction (P = 0.018) and retardation (P = 0.048).
Conclusion: The change in sBDNF is associated with the therapeutic efficacy of MECT in Chinese patients with depression.