Plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels are associated with clinical severity in school age children with asthma


Dr M. E. Bauer, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Instituto de Pesquisas Biomédicas, Faculdade de Biociências, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Ipiranga 6690, 2° andar., PO Box 1429, Porto Alegre, RS 90610-000, Brazil. E-mail:


Background Asthma is characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways with significant changes in leucocyte trafficking, cellular activation and tissue remodelling. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been involved with asthma and allergic diseases but its role as a severity marker in paediatric asthma has not been clinically assessed.

Objectives To evaluate plasma BDNF and inflammatory markers in order to address their relationships with disease severity in children (6–15 years) with controlled persistent asthma.

Methods Children with persistent asthma were selected and lung function and skin prick tests were performed in all patients. Plasma BDNF levels and various inflammatory markers (CCL3, CCL11, CCL22, CCL24, CXCL8, CXCL9, CXCL10, soluble TNF receptors) were assessed by ELISAs.

Results Subjects with moderate and severe asthma had higher BDNF levels than mild asthma and controls (P<0.001). The chemokines studied and soluble TNF receptors did not differ between the studied groups.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance Our results indicate BDNF as a potential biomarker for clinical severity in children with asthma.

Cite this as: G. C. Müller, P. M. Pitrez, A. L. Teixeira, P. S. Pires, M. H. Jones, R. T. Stein and M. E. Bauer, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 1755–1759.