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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 236-242

The impact of antidepressant treatment on brain-derived neurotrophic factor level: An evidence-based approach through systematic review and meta-analysis

1 Department of Pharmacy Practice, Drug and Poison Information Center, KMCH College of Pharmacy, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Division of Pharmacology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Vijayakumar Arumugam
Manager-Pharmacy Services, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital, Coimbatore - 641 014, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_700_16

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Objectives: Antidepressant treatment alters brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, but it is not well established whether BDNF can be used as a marker to prove the efficacy of antidepressant treatment. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aim at assessing the influence of antidepressant treatment on BDNF level and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score, thereby to establish the rationale of utilizing BDNF as a predictive biomarker and HDRS score as an indicator for antidepressant treatment efficacy. Materials and Methods: Search was conducted in PubMed, Science Direct, and Cochrane databases using the key words “BDNF” and “Depression” and “Antidepressants.” On the basis of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, studies were filtered and finally 6 randomized controlled trials were shortlisted. Results: Comparison of serum BDNF level before and after antidepressant treatment was performed and the result showed that antidepressant treatment does not significantly affect the BDNF levels (confidence interval [CI]: −0.483 to 0.959; standard mean difference [SMD]: 0.238, P = 0.518). Egger's regression test (P = 0.455) and heterogeneity test (I2 = 88.909%) were done. Similarly, comparison of HDRS scores before and after antidepressant treatment indicated improvement in HDRS score suggesting positive outcome (CI: 1.719 to 3.707; SMD: 2.713, P < 0.001). Egger's regression test (P = 0.1417) and heterogeneity test (I2 = 89.843%) were performed. Publication bias was observed by funnel plot. Conclusion: Changes in BDNF levels do not occur uniformly for all the antidepressants. Hence, to use BDNF as a biomarker, it needs to be seen whether the same is true for all antidepressants.


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