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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 650685, 7 pages
Review Article

Measurements in the Blood of BDNF for RA Patients and in Response to Anti-TNF Treatment Help Us to Clarify the Magnitude of Centrally Related Pain and to Explain the Relief of This Pain upon Treatment

1Anatomy Section, Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2Department of Medicine, Rheumatology and Inflammation Research Unit, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
3Department of Surgery and Perioperative Sciences, Orthopaedics, Umeå University, 901 85 Umeå, Sweden
4Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Rheumatology, Umeå University, 901 85 Umeå, Sweden

Received 12 March 2011; Accepted 19 April 2011

Academic Editor: Norbert Leitinger

Copyright © 2011 Sture Forsgren 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.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin with functions related to neuronal survival/proliferation processes and inflammation. BDNF is also an important central pain mediator. The levels of BDNF have been found to be high for RA patients with severe disease and to become lowered in response to anti-TNF treatment. New information says that the levels of BDNF in the blood parallel the BDNF concentrations in the brain and that BDNF can pass the blood-brain barrier. Furthermore, most of the circulating BDNF is produced in the brain. Habitual and regular exercise, in contrast to temporary exercise, does also lead to a lowering of BDNF blood levels. Both anti-TNF treatment and habitual and regular exercise do have pain-relieving effects. It might be that the pain-relieving effect of anti-TNF treatment is related to an affection of central neuronal regions, hereby influencing BDNF production. Measurements of BDNF in the blood help us to clarify the magnitude of centrally related pain for RA patients and help us to explain the relief of this pain in response to anti-TNF treatment.