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The Level of Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Is Associated With the Therapeutic Efficacy of Modified Electroconvulsive Therapy in Chinese Patients With Depression

Hu, Yongdong MD*†; Yu, Xin MD‡§; Yang, Fude MD; Si, Tianmei MD‡§; Wang, Weidong MD*; Tan, Yunlong MD; Zhou, Dongfeng MD‡§; Wang, Huali MD‡§; Chen, Dachun MD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181c18bbf
Original Studies

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.

From the *Guang'anmen Hospital of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences; †Beijing Huilongguan Hospital; ‡Peking University Institute of Mental Health and §Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Ministry of Health, Beijing, China.

Received for publication March 16, 2009; accepted August 27, 2009.

Reprints: Xin Yu, MD, Peking University Institute of Mental Health, Beijing 100191, China (e-mail:

This work was conducted at the Outpatient Department, Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Beijing, China.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.