Levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in patients with Major Depressive Disorder and its relation to coping strategies

  • Fareeha Butt Dow University of Health Sciences
  • Raza ur Rahman Professor of Psychiatry Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Ambreen Qamar Associate Professor of Physiology DDC, DUHS, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Shazia Nazar Dept of Physiology ,DDC, DUHS, Karachi, Pakistan.
Keywords: Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor, HAM-D, Coping strategies, Major depressive disorder, BDNF


Background: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an effective indicator of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This study aimed to determine the relation of serum BDNF levels in patients of MDD and association of serum BDNF level with coping strategies. Methods: It was a case control study which recruited never treated depressed participants of 18–55 years age. Non-probability (convenience) sampling technique was used. One way ANOVA was applied to investigate the effect of BDNF on COPE, and Spearman’s correlation was applied to measure the association between BDNF and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Results: There was significant negative moderate correlation between serum BDNF levels and HAM-D (Spearman’s r= -0.29, p=0.007) indicating more severely depressed patients had lower BDNF scores. There was a significant relationship between BDNF and COPE which showed the patients with more Serum BDNF level are coping in a better way (p=0.004). Serum BDNF was significantly lower in patients with emotion focused (Range: 13–17 μg/L) and appraised focused (Range: 16.6–20 μg/L) group (15±4 μg/L and 16±4.8 μg/L respectively) than in problem focused (Range: 10–22 μg/L) and healthy participants (Range: 18–21.5 μg/L) (18.4±3 μg/L and 20±5.6 μg/L respectively). Conclusion: There was a significant relationship between BDNF and COPE, indicating low Serum BDNF level triggered the major depression in which Serum BDNF level was lower in participants of emotion focused and appraised focused group than in problem focused and without MDD group. The inverse moderate correlation was found between serum BDNF levels and HAM-D.

Pak J Physiol 2020:16(4):24–8


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Butt F, Rahman R ur, Qamar A, Nazar S. Levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in patients with Major Depressive Disorder and its relation to coping strategies. PJP [Internet]. 31Dec.2020 [cited 11Apr.2021];16(4):24-8. Available from: http://pjp.pps.org.pk/index.php/PJP/article/view/1207