Exploring the Association between Serum BDNF and Attempted Suicide Academic Article uri icon

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  • Suicide is a leading cause of death and a significant public health concern. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein important to nervous system function, has been implicated in psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviour. We investigated the association between serum levels of BDNF and attempted suicide in a sample of 281 participants using a case-control study design. Participants were recruited from clinical and community settings between March 2011 and November 2014. Cases (individuals who had attempted suicide) (n = 84) were matched on sex and age (within five years) to both psychiatric controls (n = 104) and community controls (n = 93) with no history of suicide attempts. We collected fasting blood samples, socio-demographic information, physical measurements, and detailed descriptions of suicide attempts. We used linear regression analysis to determine the association between BDNF level (dependent variable) and attempted suicide (key exposure variable), adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, current smoking status, and antidepressant use. 250 participants were included in this analysis. In the linear regression model, attempted suicide was not significantly associated with BDNF level (β = 0.28, SE = 1.20, P = 0.82). Our findings suggest that no significant association exists between attempted suicide and BDNF level. However, the findings need to be replicated in a larger cohort study.


  • Eisen, Rebecca B
  • Perera, Stefan
  • Bawor, Monica
  • Dennis, Brittany B
  • El-Sheikh, Wala
  • DeJesus, Jane
  • Rangarajan, Sumathy
  • Vair, Judith
  • Sholer, Heather
  • Hutchinson, Nicole
  • Iordan, Elizabeth
  • Mackie, Pam
  • Islam, Shofiqul
  • Dehghan, Mahshid
  • Brasch, Jennifer
  • Anglin, Rebecca
  • Minuzzi, Luciano
  • Thabane, Lehana
  • Samaan, Zainab

publication date

  • July 2016