Chronic heroin and cocaine abuse is associated with decreased serum concentrations of the nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
ABSTRACT Chronic cocaine and heroin users display a variety of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunctions including impaired attention, learning, memory, reaction time, cognitive flexibility, impulse control and selective processing. These findings suggest that these drugs may alter normal brain functions and possibly cause neurotoxicity. Neurotrophins are a class of proteins that serve as survival factors for CNS neurons. In particular, nerve growth factor (NGF) plays an important role in the survival and function of cholinergic neurons while brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in synaptic plasticity and in the maintenance of midbrain dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons. In the present study, we measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) the NGF and BDNF levels in serum of three groups of subjects: heroin-dependent patients, cocaine-dependent patients and healthy volunteers. Our goal was to identify possible change in serum neurotrophins in heroin and cocaine users. BDNF was decreased in heroin users whereas NGF was decreased in both heroin and cocaine users. These findings indicate that NGF and BDNF may play a role in the neurotoxicity and addiction induced by these drugs. In view of the neurotrophin hypothesis of schizophrenia the data also suggest that reduced level of neurotrophins may increase the risk of developing psychosis in drug users.
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ABSTRACT: An important goal of addiction research is to discover neurobiological markers that could predict the severity of addiction and help to determine appropriate treatment. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) are being related to cerebral plasticity and impairment caused by substance abuse. This study aims to evaluate alteration of TBARS and BDNF levels among crack cocaine users during early drug withdrawal and its relationship to severity of drug use. Forty-nine adults crack cocaine users were recruited at a public psychiatric hospital with a specialized addiction treatment unit. Blood sample was collected at intake and discharge for the analysis of TBARS and BDNF measures. Information about drug use was assessed by the Addiction Severity Index 6th Version (ASI-6). Detailed information about crack cocaine use was obtained through the "Profile of the crack cocaine user." Severity of crack use was estimated using information from age of first crack use, years of crack use, and crack rocks used in the previous 30 days. There is a positive correlation between TBARS levels and severity of crack cocaine use (R = 0.304, p = 0.04) and a negative correlation between BDNF and severity of crack cocaine use (R = -0.359, p = 0.01) at discharge. Also, we found an inverse correlation between TBARS and BDNF levels (R = -0.294, p = 0.004) at discharge. Our findings suggest that BDNF and TBARS could be possible markers for the severity of drug use. Further studies may show how those markers could be related to staging, prognosis, and treatment in crack cocaine dependence.Psychopharmacology 03/2014; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurotrophic factors have been investigated in the pathophysiology of alcohol and drug dependence and have been related to early life stress driving developmental programming of neuroendocrine systems. We conducted a follow-up study that aimed to assess the plasma levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and neurotrophin-4/5 (NT4/5) in crack users during 3 weeks of early abstinence in comparison with healthy controls. We performed a comprehensive clinical assessment in female inpatients with crack cocaine dependence (separated into 2 groups: participants with (CSA+) and without (CSA-) a history of childhood sexual abuse) and a group of nonuser control participants. Our sample included 104 women with crack cocaine dependence and 22 controls; of the women who used crack cocaine, 22 had a history of childhood sexual abuse and 82 did not. The GDNF plasma levels in the CSA+ group increased dramatically during 3 weeks of detoxification. In contrast, those in the CSA- group showed lower and stable levels of GDNF under the same conditions. Compared with the control group, BDNF plasma levels remained elevated and NGF levels were reduced during early abstinence. We found no differences in NT3 and NT4/5 between the patients and controls. However, within-group analyses showed that the CSA+ group exhibited higher levels of NT4/5 than the CSA- group at the end of detoxification. Some of the participants were using neuroleptics, mood stabilizers or antidepressants; our sample included only women; memory bias could not be controlled; and we did not investigate the possible confounding effects of other forms of stress during childhood. This study supports the association between early life stress and peripheral neurotrophic factor levels in crack cocaine users. During early abstinence, plasmastic GDNF and NT4/5 were the only factors to show changes associated with a history of childhood sexual abuse.Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 12/2013; 38(6):130027. · 6.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Introduction: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a key role in neural development and synaptic plasticity. BDNF is known to circulate in plasma and its levels are strictly linked to the sex hormones. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the plasma BDNF concentration in patients with Turner syndrome (TS). This is a first of such study in TS women. Methods: 31 TS patients were enrolled to the study and compared with a control group (10 healthy, ovulatory women). We collected blood for measurement of BDNF plasma concentration, estradiol (E2) and gonadotrophins serum levels. The blood was taken after overnight fasting, in menstruating women in follicular phase. Results: We found that BDNF plasma concentration was significantly higher in the group of TS patients compared to the control group (mean 768.5 ± 194.9 pg/ml versus 407.2 ± 25.7 pg/ml; p < 0.0001). What is more, the BDNF levels in TS were not correlated to E2 levels, whereas in the control group, positive and strong correlation with E2 was found (r = 0.92; p < 0.0001). The testosterone concentration correlated strongly with BDNF levels in TS patients. Conclusions: In this study, we showed for the first time that TS patients has a higher BDNF levels than healthy ones and BDNF is not correlated with E2 concentration but tend to be related to testosterone. This study brings interesting insights to BDNF physiology.Gynecological Endocrinology 01/2014; · 1.30 Impact Factor