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Open Access Research article

BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and protein levels in Amniotic Fluid

Annamaria Cattaneo1, Luisella Bocchio-Chiavetto3, Roberta Zanardini3, Eleonora Marchina2, Daniela Bellotti2, Elena Milanesi12, Stefania Moraschi1, Francesca Calabrese4, Sergio Barlati2, Marco Andrea Riva4 and Massimo Gennarelli12*

Author Affiliations

1 Genetics Unit, IRCCS San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy

2 Division of Biology and Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Brescia, Italy

3 Neuropsychopharmacology Unit, IRCCS San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy

4 Center of Neuropharmacology, Department of Pharmacological Sciences and Center of Excellence on Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Milan, Italy

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BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-16

Published: 8 February 2010

Abstract

Background

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin which plays survival- and growth-promoting activity in neuronal cells and it is involved in cellular plasticity mechanisms as it controls activity dependent synaptic transmission. A functional polymorphism (Val66Met) in the pro-region of BDNF, which affects the intracellular trafficking of proBDNF has been associated with memory and cognitive deficits as well as to an increased susceptibility for several psychiatric disorders especially those with a neurodevelopmental origin. To date, no study has evaluated the influence of the Val66Met polymorphism on BDNF levels in a peripheral system that may reflect fetal neurodevelopment. Therefore we investigated in amniotic fluids (AF) obtained from 139 healthy women during 15-17 week of pregnancy, BDNF protein levels in correlation with the Val66Met polymorphism.

Results

Interestingly we found a significant BDNF protein levels reduction in 55 Met carriers (Val/Met and Met/Met) (p = 0.002) as compared to 84 non carriers (Val/Val), and no effect of fetus gender, maternal age or gestation week on BDNF levels has been observed.

Conclusion

These results, although explorative, indicate that during fetal life the Val66Met genotype might influences BDNF protein levels in AF supporting the involvement of this polymorphism in behavioral and functional brain individual differences in the adulthood.