BDNF, proBDNF and IGF-1 serum levels in naïve and medicated subjects with autism Academic Article uri icon

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  • AbstractBrain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) promote the development and maintenance of neural circuits. Alterations in these factors might contribute to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We asked whether serum BDNF, proBDNF, and IGF-1 levels are altered in an ASD population compared to controls. We measured serum BDNF, proBDNF, and IGF-1 immunoreactive protein in boys and girls aged 5–15 years old with mild to moderate ASD and non-autistic controls by ELISA. IGF-1 was increased in ASD serum compared to controls and was correlated with age and with CARS scores. Serum BDNF levels did not differ between groups, however, proBDNF serum levels were decreased in subjects with ASD compared to non-autistic controls. Medicated, but not unmedicated, ASD subjects exhibited lower serum proBDNF levels compared to controls, while neither IGF-1 nor BDNF levels differed between treatment groups. These data support the involvement of proBDNF and IGF-1 in the pathogenesis and treatment of autism.


  • Robinson-Agramonte, Maria de los Angeles
  • Michalski, Bernadeta
  • Vidal-Martinez, Belkis
  • Hernández, Leyanis Ramos
  • Santiesteban, Mabel Whilby
  • Fahnestock, Margaret

publication date

  • August 12, 2022