Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 189307, 6 pages
Research Article

Riluzole Stimulates BDNF Release from Human Platelets

Department of Morphological Sciences, Institute of Basic Health Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Sarmento Leite, 500, 90050-170 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Received 1 July 2014; Accepted 17 September 2014

Academic Editor: Gianluca Coppola

Copyright © 2015 Patrick Türck and Marcos Emílio Frizzo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has several functions in the central nervous system, where it contributes to brain development and its functionality through affecting neuronal survival and activity and also modulating neurotransmitter levels. This neurotrophin is also found in the serum, but its origin and peripheral function remain unknown. Although the source of circulating BDNF is uncertain, it is stored in platelets and can be released through pharmacological treatment. Decreased levels of BDNF in the serum have been related to the pathophysiology of depression, and this relationship is reinforced by the reversal of this condition by treatment with antidepressants. Recently, riluzole has been proposed for the treatment of depression because it has the ability to lower extracellular glutamate levels and increase BDNF expression; and both mechanisms could be associated with its antidepressant action. Considering that riluzole enhances BDNF levels in the serum of patients, we investigated if treatment with this drug could stimulate the release of this neurotrophin from human platelets obtained from healthy subjects. When platelets were incubated with riluzole for 4 h, the basal value of BDNF ( pg 10−6 platelets) was significantly increased (, ). This stimulatory effect was achieved at low concentrations of riluzole (from 10 µM) and was not observed when platelets were incubated with the drug for 24 h. The direct action of riluzole evoking BDNF release from human platelets at therapeutic concentrations is important and may contribute to the understanding of its mechanisms of action in the treatment of depression.