Background: Although several lines of evidences suggest that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, this association remains controversial. Here, we aim to investigate the genetic association between the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and schizophrenia and to explore whether this polymorphism could influence the severity of clinical symptoms in schizophrenic patients in a Chinese Han population.
Patients and methods: Genotyping of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism was carried out in 456 schizophrenic patients and 483 controls using the fluorescence resonance energy transfer method. The patients’ psychotic symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. The general clinical data of schizophrenic patients were analyzed.
Results: There were significant differences in the genotype distribution and allelic frequencies of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism between the schizophrenia group and the controls. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism explained ∼16% of the variance in anxiety/depression symptoms in schizophrenic patients.
Conclusion: Our data provide evidence that the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism may be involved in the etiology of schizophrenia in a Chinese Han population. Furthermore, the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is a significant factor influencing the severity of anxiety/depression symptoms in schizophrenic patients.