Brain-derived neurotrophic factor variants are associated with childhood-onset mood disorder: confirmation in a Hungarian sample Academic Article uri icon

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  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a nerve growth factor that has been implicated in the neurobiology of depression. Our group has previously reported an association between a BDNF variant and childhood-onset mood disorder (COMD) in an adult sample from Pittsburgh. We hypothesize that variants at the BDNF locus are associated with COMD. Six BDNF polymorphisms were genotyped in 258 trios having juvenile probands with childhood-onset DSM-IV major depressive or dysthymic disorder. BDNF markers included the (GT)n microsatellite, Val66Met and four other single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distributed across the BDNF gene. Family-based association and evolutionary haplotype analysis methods were used. Analysis of linkage disequilibrium (LD) revealed substantial LD among all six polymorphisms. Analyses of the Val66Met polymorphism demonstrated significant overtransmission of the val allele (chi2=7.12, d.f.=1, P=0.0076). Consistent with the pattern of LD, all other SNPs showed significant biased transmission. The (GT)n microsatellite alleles also indicated a trend towards biased transmission (170 bp: Z=2.095, P=0.036). Significant haplotypes involved Val66Met and BDNF2 (P=0.0029). In this Hungarian sample, we found all five BDNF SNPs tested and a haplotype containing the BDNF Val66Met Val allele to be associated with COMD. These results provide evidence that BDNF variants affect liability to juvenile-onset mood disorders, supported by data from two independent samples.


  • Strauss, J
  • Barr, CL
  • George, CJ
  • Devlin, B
  • Vetró, Á
  • Kiss, E
  • Baji, I
  • King, N
  • Shaikh, S
  • Lanktree, Matthew
  • Kovacs, M
  • Kennedy, JL

publication date

  • September 1, 2005