ORIGINAL ARTICLE: EPIDEMIOLOGY,
CLINICAL PRACTICE AND HEALTH
Relationships between serum brain-derived neurotrophic
factor concentration and parameters for health scores in
community-dwelling older adults
and Kazushige Ihara
Department of Pharmaceutical therapeutics, Division of Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmacy School, Showa University, Departments of
Psychosomatic Medicine, School of Medicine,
Public Health, School of Medicine, Toho University,
Human Care Research Team,
Department of Dentistry and
Research Team for Social Participation and Community Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of
Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan
Aim: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been implicated in the progression of neuronal survival, phe-
notyping differentiation and maintenance of various neurons, as well as neurogenesis. We studied how BDNF affects
health parameters of older adults by carrying out a health examination of community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: We measured the serum BDNF concentration of 898 older adults aged 65–84 years who participated in
regional health examinations in the Tokyo area and also measured various parameters, such as the thickness of the
quadriceps femoris, percentage of body fat, body mass index, grip strength, frequency of walking, and use of sleeping
drugs and steroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs.
Results: We obtained signiﬁcant relationships between serum BDNF values and thickness of the quadriceps mus-
cle, body mass index or percentage of body fat. Individuals holding onto something when they stood up had lower
serum BDNF values than individuals not holding onto something when they stood up. Smokers had higher serum
BDNF values than non-smokers.
Conclusions: Older adults who had higher serum BDNF had bigger quadriceps muscles, higher body mass index
and higher body fat rate, and were also able to stand up without holding onto something from a sitting position.
Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 456–461.
Keywords: brain-derived neurotrophic factor, elderly cohort, health examination, quadriceps femoris.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is expressed
in the brain, especially in the neuronal cells through
activation of intracellular signaling of cyclic-AMP
response element binding protein (CREB).
been implicated in the progression of neuronal survival,
phenotyping differentiation and maintenance of various
neurons, as well as neurogenesis.
BDNF is also found
in the blood, plasma and serum, and it can cross the
blood–brain barrier, so it is accepted that the amount
of blood BDNF reﬂects the expression of BDNF
change in the brain.
It is reported that the serum con-
centration of BDNF in depressed patients is lower than
that of normal healthy people, and treatment with anti-
depressants reverses the BDNF concentration in
patients with ameliorating depression.
in Alzheimer’s disease, lower serum BDNF levels have
also been reported, and were restored by treatment with
acetylcholine esterase inhibitors.
In contrast, Duman
et al. reported that animals housed in an enriched envi-
ronment with a wheel, tunnels, food that they can seek
out and so on have higher BDNF concentrations in the
brain than animals housed in a normal environment.
As the enriched environment gives animals low stress
and good exercise, enhancement of BDNF expression
in the brain and neurogenesis are observed.
more, it is reported that expression of BDNF is
enhanced in the muscle as well as in the brain after
Accepted for publication 28 September 2017.
Correspondence: Dr Mitsugu Hachisu PhD, Department of
Pharmaceutical Therapeutics, Division of Clinical Pharmacy,
Pharmacy School, Showa University, 1-5-8 Hatanodai,
Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.
| doi: 10.1111/ggi.13210 © 2017 Japan Geriatrics Society
Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 456–461