Gender differences in platelet brain derived neurotrophic factor in patients with cardiovascular disease and depression

Marlene S. Williams, Chelsea K. Ngongang, Pam Ouyang, Fabrice Betoudji, Christine Harrer, Nae Yuh Wang, Roy C. Ziegelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Women have a higher prevalence of depression compared to men. Serum levels of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are decreased in depression. BDNF may also have a protective role in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease (CAD) or events. We examined whether there are gender differences in BDNF levels in patients with stable CAD and comorbid depression. We enrolled 37 patients (17 women) with stable CAD with and without depression from a single medical center. All patients had depression assessment with the Beck Depression Inventory-II questionnaire. Both plasma and platelet BDNF were measured in all patients using a standard ELISA method. Platelet BDNF levels were higher than plasma BDNF levels in the entire group (5903.9 ± 1915.6 vs 848.5 ± 460.5 pg/ml, p < 0.001). Women had higher platelet BDNF levels than men (6954.2 ± 1685.6 vs. 5011.2 ± 1653.5 pg/ml, p < 0.001). Women without depression (BDI-II < 5, n = 8) had higher platelet BDNF than men without depression (n = 8, 7382.8 ± 1633.1 vs 4811.7 ± 1642.3 pg/ml, p = 0.007). Women with no or minimal depression (BDI < 14, n = 14) had higher platelet BDNF levels than men with no or minimal depression (n = 18, 6900.2 ± 1486.6 vs 4972.9 ± 1568.9 pg/ml, p = 0.001). The plasma BDNF levels were similar between men and women in all categories of depression. In conclusion, women with stable CAD have increased platelet BDNF levels when compared to men with stable CAD regardless of their level of depression. Sex specific differences in BDNF could possibly indicate differences in factors linking platelet activation and depression in men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • BDNF
  • CAD
  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Platelets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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