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Disease Markers
Volume 2016, Article ID 4095723, 7 pages
Research Article

Plasma Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor as a Biomarker for the Main Types of Mild Neurocognitive Disorders and Treatment Efficacy: A Preliminary Study

State Institution “Zaporizhzhia Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education Ministry of Health of Ukraine”, 20 Winter Boulevard, Zaporizhia 69096, Ukraine

Received 9 June 2016; Revised 14 July 2016; Accepted 23 July 2016

Academic Editor: Luisella Bocchio-Chiavetto

Copyright © 2016 Oleg A. Levada et al. 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.


Decreased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are assumed to play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of mild neurocognitive disorders (MNCDs). In this study, we compared plasma BDNF levels (at baseline and after two months of treatment with escitalopram) in patients with the main types of MNCDs and normal controls. 21 patients met the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for possible MNCD due to Alzheimer’s disease (MNCD-AD); 22 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for subcortical vascular MNCD (ScVMNCD) according to Frisoni et al. (2002) and neuroimaging-supported probable diagnosis of vascular MNCD according to DSM-5; 16 subjects entered control group. At baseline, we detected lower BDNF levels in both MNCD groups, which was significant only in subjects with MNCD-AD. Moreover, plasma BDNF level of 21160 pg/mL showed high sensitivity (94%) to discriminate patients with MNCD-AD. Decreased plasma BDNF highly correlated with the severity of memory impairment and total MMSE score in MNCD-AD group. Escitalopram treatment in patients with MNCD-AD or ScVMNCD led to an increase of plasma BDNF concentrations and as a result to a decrease of cognitive, depressive, and anxiety symptom severity. In conclusion, plasma BDNF might be a reliable biomarker for the validation of MNCD-AD diagnosis and treatment efficacy.