A meta-analysis of circulating BDNF concentrations in anorexia nervosa

Marek K. Brandys, Martien J. H. Kas, Annemarie A. van Elburg, Iain C. Campbell, Roger A. H. Adan

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in neuroplasticity, and in the homeostatic regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. It also has a role in stress responsivity and reward processing. On the basis of its involvement in these various processes, BDNF can be hypothesized to be an important factor in the development and maintenance of anorexia nervosa (AN). This study meta-analytically summarizes investigations of serum BDNF concentrations in people currently ill with AN, in comparison to healthy controls.

Methods. Seven studies measuring BDNF in serum of individuals with AN (n == 155) and healthy controls (n == 174) were identified and included in the meta-analysis of the mean differences between case and control groups. Results. This study confirms that AN is associated with decreased serum BDNF concentrations, in comparison to healthy controls. The combined effect size (standardized mean difference, SMD) was large (SMD == -0.96; 95% CI -1.33 to -0.59; P <0.001). Significant heterogeneity of effect sizes was identified (I
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444 - 454
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Biological Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


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