• Alzheimer's disease;
  • brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF);
  • executive function;
  • Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB);
  • single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)


Background:  To address the functional roles of genetic polymorphisms of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) from a neuropsychological aspect, we used a cross-sectional study design to investigate the association between novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the BDNF gene (Val66Met (G196A) and C270T) and the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) score, which reflects executive function as a non-memory cognitive impairment.

Methods:  One hundred and sixty-nine outpatients with AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (A-MCI) were recruited to the study and divided into three genotypic groups for each representative BDNF functional polymorphism as follows: (i) Val66Met (G196A): G/G (n= 45), G/A (n= 104), and A/A (n= 20); and (ii) C270T: C/C (n= 160), C/T (n= 9), and T/T (n= 0). Then, age, sex ratio, duration of illness (months), education years, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, behavioral pathology in Alzheimer disease (Behave-AD) score, Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) ratio, and total and subtest FAB scores were compared between the genotypic groups for each SNP.

Results:  Significant differences were found in the total (P < 0.01) and subtest (conflicting instructions and prehension behavior; P < 0.01) FAB scores between the C270T polymorphism groups (C/C and C/T), but not among the G196A polymorphism groups. However, no significant differences in age, sex ratio, duration of illness (months), education years, Behave-AD score, CDR ratio, or MMSE score (reflecting attention and memory function) were found between the individual polymorphism genotypes (G196A and C270T).

Conclusion:  Of the known BDNF polymorphisms, the C270T SNP may influence executive dysfunction as a non-memory cognitive impairment in Japanese patients with AD.