Plasma BDNF levels associate with Pittsburgh Compound B binding inthe brain

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. BDNF function is adversely affected by amyloid beta in AD. BDNF levels in brain and peripheral tissues are lower in patients with AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than in controls. Here we examined the association between plasma levels of BDNF and amyloid deposition in the brain measured with Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB). Method: Our data set consisted of 18 AD, 56 MCI, and 3 normal control Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative-1 (ADNI1) subjects with available [11C] PiB and peripheral blood protein data. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-coregistered positron emission tomography data were smoothed with a 15mm kernel and mapped onto three-dimensional (3D) hemispheric models using the warping deformations computed in cortical pattern matching of the associated MRI scans. We applied linear regression to examine in 3D the associations between BDNF and PiB standard uptake value ratio, while adjusting for age and sex. We used permutation statistics thresholded at P<.01 for multiple comparisons correction. Results: Plasma BDNF levels showed significant negative associations with left greater than right amyloid burden in the lateral temporal, inferior parietal, inferior frontal, anterior and posterior cingulate, and orbitofrontal regions (left Pcorrected=.03). Conclusions: As hypothesized, lower plasma levels of BDNF were significantly associated with widespread brain amyloidosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • PiB
  • Pittsburgh Compound B


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