The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Brief Report

Decreased BDNF levels in CSF of drug-naive first-episode psychotic subjects: correlation with plasma BDNF and psychopathology

Anilkumar Pillaia1a2 c1, Anvita Kalea3, Sadhana Joshia3, Nilesh Naphadea4, M. S. V. K. Rajua4, Henry Nasrallaha5 and Sahebarao P. Mahadika1a2

a1 Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, USA

a2 Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Augusta, GA, USA

a3 Interactive Research School for Health Affairs

a4 Department of Psychiatry, Bharati Medical College, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune, India

a5 Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays an important role in neurodevelopmental plasticity and cognitive performance, has been implicated in neuropsychopathology of schizophrenia. We examined the levels of both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma BDNF concomitantly in drug-naive first-episode psychotic (FEP) subjects with ELISA to determine if these levels were different from control values and if any correlation exists between CSF and plasma BDNF levels. A significant reduction in BDNF protein levels was observed in both plasma and CSF of FEP subjects compared to controls. BDNF levels showed significant negative correlation with the scores of baseline PANSS positive symptom subscales. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between plasma and CSF BDNF levels in FEP subjects. The parallel changes in BDNF levels in plasma and CSF indicate that plasma BDNF levels reflect the brain changes in BDNF levels in schizophrenia.

(Received July 24 2009)

(Reviewed August 24 2009)

(Revised October 02 2009)

(Accepted October 26 2009)

(Online publication November 27 2009)


c1 Address for correspondence: A. Pillai, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912, USA. Tel.: 706 721-7793 Fax: 706 721-1793 Email:

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