Brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met and psychiatric disorders: meta-analysis of case-control studies confirm association to substance-related disorders, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Research paper by Mònica M Gratacòs, Juan R JR González, Josep M JM Mercader, Rafael R de Cid, Mikel M Urretavizcaya, Xavier X Estivill

Indexed on: 16 Jan '07Published on: 16 Jan '07Published in: Biological Psychiatry


There is an increasing recognition that the pathophysiology of mental disorders could be the result of deregulation of synaptic plasticity with alterations of neurotrophins. The valine (Val)66-to-methionine (Met) variant, located in the pro brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) sequence, has been extensively studied through linkage and association approaches in several psychiatric disorders.We performed a meta-analysis restricted to individual case-control studies in different categories of mental disorders and BDNF Val66Met polymorphism. We included data from 39 case-control studies encompassing psychiatric phenotypes: eating disorders, substance-related disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia, among others.The association of Val66Met was confined to three diagnoses: substance-related disorders, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. The Val/Met and the Met/Met genotypes increase the risk for eating disorders up to 33%, while these same genotypes confer a 21% protective effect in substance-related disorders. The homozygous carriers Met/Met showed a 19% increased risk of schizophrenia with respect to the heterozygous state.The study confirms the association of Val66Met to substance-related disorders, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. It remains to be determined if other variants in tight linkage disequilibrium with Val66Met could configure an extended functional haplotype that would explain observed discrepancies in risk estimations across studies.