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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is deemed to be associated with the psychopathology of bipolar I disorder (BD). However, studies focusing on accuracy of BDNF levels to differentiate these patients from healthy controls (HCs) are scarce. Over a discrete twelve-year period, we investigated serum BDNF levels in patients with BD and compared them to age-, sex- and body mass index (BMI)-matched HCs. There were lower serum BDNF levels in 83 samples with BD than in 222 HCs samples (5.7 ± 4.2 ng/ml vs. 12.2 ± 7.5 ng/ml, F = 46.784). Pearson's correlation test showed significant positive correlations between Young Mania Rating Scale scores and the BDNF levels among 61 manic patients (γ = 0.339). The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed BDNF levels demonstrated a moderate accuracy of being able to differentiate BD patients from HCs (AUC = 0.801). The most adequate cut-off points of the BDNF level were 6.74 ng/ml (sensitivity = 82.0%, specificity = 63.9%). Our results support that BDNF demonstrated moderate accuracy to distinguish BD patients from HCs. In the future, greater samples would be required to prove these results.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychiatry Research

Publication Date





395 - 399


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Bipolar disorder, Biomarker