No effect of escitalopram versus placebo on brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy individuals: a randomised trial

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OBJECTIVE: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) seems to play an important role in the course of depression including the response to antidepressants in patients with depression. We aimed to study the effect of an antidepressant intervention on peripheral BDNF in healthy individuals with a family history of depression.

METHODS: We measured changes in BDNF messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and whole-blood BDNF levels in 80 healthy first-degree relatives of patients with depression randomly allocated to receive daily tablets of escitalopram 10 mg versus placebo for 4 weeks.

RESULTS: We found no statistically significant difference between the escitalopram and the placebo group in the change in BDNF mRNA expression and whole-blood BDNF levels. Post hoc analyses showed a statistically significant negative correlation between plasma escitalopram concentration and change in whole-blood BDNF levels in the escitalopram-treated group.

CONCLUSION: The results of this randomised trial suggest that escitalopram 10 mg has no effect on peripheral BDNF levels in healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

ID: 153342040