• schizophrenia;
  • aripiprazole;
  • brain-derived neurotrophic factor;
  • homovanillic acid;
  • 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol


We investigated the effects of aripiprazole on plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and catecholamine metabolites in first-episode untreated schizophrenia patients.


The subjects were 50 Japanese first-episode untreated schizophrenia patients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision criteria and were treated with aripiprazole monotherapy. Twenty-nine were males, and 21 were females. The age ranged from 21 to 42 years (mean ± SD; 30.8 ± 5.3 years). Plasma BDNF and catecholamine metabolites were measured by ELISA and HPLC, respectively. Psychiatric symptoms were evaluated using by Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale.


Treatment with aripiprazole for 8 weeks significantly increased plasma BDNF levels. It also changed plasma levels of homovanillic acid and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol. A negative correlation was also observed between duration of psychosis and plasma BDNF levels. No correlation was observed however between plasma BDNF levels and the dose of aripiprazole.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report showing that aripiprazole increases plasma BDNF levels in first-episode untreated schizophrenia patients. Furthermore, the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism was independent of the response to aripiprazole. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.