DNA methylation profiles of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene as a potent diagnostic biomarker in major depression.
ABSTRACT: Major depression, because of its recurring and life-threatening nature, is one of the top 10 diseases for global disease burden. Major depression is still diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms in patients. The search for specific biological markers is of great importance to advance the method of diagnosis for depression. We examined the methylation profile of 2 CpG islands (I and IV) at the promoters of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, which is well known to be involved in the pathophysiology of depression. We analyzed genomic DNA from peripheral blood of 20 Japanese patients with major depression and 18 healthy controls to identify an appropriate epigenetic biomarker to aid in the establishment of an objective system for the diagnosis of depression. Methylation rates at each CpG unit was measured using a MassArray® system (SEQUENOM), and 2-dimensional hierarchical clustering analyses were undertaken to determine the validity of these methylation profiles as a diagnostic biomarker. Analyses of the dendrogram from methylation profiles of CpG I, but not IV, demonstrated that classification of healthy controls and patients at the first branch completely matched the clinical diagnosis. Despite the small number of subjects, our results indicate that classification based on the DNA methylation profiles of CpG I of the BDNF gene may be a valuable diagnostic biomarker for major depression.
Project description:The regulation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is important for depression pathophysiology and epigenetic regulation of the BDNF gene may be involved. This study investigated whether BDNF methylation is a marker of depression. One thousand and twenty-four participants were recruited as part of a longitudinal study of psychiatric disorders in general population elderly (age ⩾ 65). Clinical levels of depression were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for the diagnosis of major depressive disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder IV criteria, and the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) for assessment of moderate to severe depressive symptoms. Buccal DNA methylation at the two most widely studied BDNF promoters, I and IV, was investigated using the Sequenom MassARRAY platform that allows high-throughput investigation of methylation at individual CpG sites within defined genomic regions. In multivariate linear regression analyses adjusted for a range of participant characteristics including antidepressant use, depression at baseline, as well as chronic late-life depression over the 12-year follow-up, were associated with overall higher BDNF methylation levels, with two sites showing significant associations (promoter I, Δ mean = 0.4%, P = 0.0002; promoter IV, Δ mean = 5.4%, P = 0.021). Three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs6265, rs7103411 and rs908867) were also found to modify the association between depression and promoter I methylation. As one of the largest epigenetic studies of depression, and the first investigating BDNF methylation in buccal tissue, our findings highlight the potential for buccal BDNF methylation to be a biomarker of depression.
Project description:Major problems of current antidepressant pharmacotherapy are insufficient response rates and difficulties in response prediction. We recently provided preliminary evidence in a small study that patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with a hypomethylation of the CpG-87 site of the promoter IV region of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene are less likely to benefit from antidepressants. Here, we aimed at replicating this finding in a secondary analysis of 561 MDD patients (mean age 40.0 ± 11.9 years, 56% female) included into the Early Medication Change study (EMC). We measured BDNF exon IV promoter and p11 gene methylation at Baseline (BL) as well as BDNF-plasma-levels (pBDNF) at BL and day 14 and related them to treatment outcome. Although we were not able to replicate the predictor function of hypomethylation of the BDNF exon IV promoter, a subgroup of patients with severe depression (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HAMD-17] ? 25) (n = 199) and hypermethylation at CpG-87 of the BDNF exon IV promoter had significantly higher remission rates than patients without a methylation (p = 0.032). We also found that 421 (75%) of 561 patients showed an early improvement (? 20% HAMD-17 reduction after 2 weeks), which was associated with a 4.24-fold increased likelihood to remit at study end compared to the 140 patients without early improvement. However, specificity of response prediction of early improvement was low (34%) and false positive rate high (66%). The combination of early improvement with a pBDNF increase between BL and day 14, however, increased the specificity of response prediction from 34 to 76%, and the combination with methylation of the CpG-87 site of the BDNF exon IV promoter from 34 to 62%. Thus, the combined markers reduced false positives rates from 66 to 24% and 38%, respectively. Methylation at other sites or p11 promoter methylation failed to increase specificity of early improvement prediction. In sum, the results add to previous findings that BDNF, BDNF promoter methylation and the combination of clinical and biological markers may be interesting candidates for therapy response prediction which has to be confirmed in further studies. Clinical Trial Registration: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00974155, identifier: NCT00974155.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative movement disorder that presents with prominent cognitive and psychiatric dysfunction. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of HD, as well as other neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, and epigenetic alterations in the complex BDNF promoter have been associated with its deregulation in pathological conditions. BDNF has gained increased attention as a potential biomarker of disease; but currently, the conflicting results from measurements of BDNF in different biofluids difficult the assessment of its utility as a biomarker for HD. Here, we measured BDNF protein levels in plasma (n = 85) and saliva (n = 81) samples from premanifest and manifest HD patients and normal controls using ELISA assays. We further examined DNA methylation levels of BDNF promoter IV using DNA derived from whole blood of HD patients and healthy controls (n = 40) using pyrosequencing. BDNF protein levels were not significantly different in plasma samples across diagnostic groups. Plasma BDNF was significantly correlated with age in control subjects but not in HD patients, nor were significant gender effects observed. Similar to plasma, salivary BDNF was correlated with age only in control subjects, with no gender effects observed. Importantly, we detected significantly lower levels of salivary BDNF in premanifest and manifest HD patients compared to control subjects, with lower BDNF levels being observed in premanifest patients within a predicted 10 years to disease onset. Salivary and plasma BDNF levels were not significantly correlated with one another, suggesting different origins. DNA methylation at four out of the 12 CpG sites studied in promoter IV were significantly altered in HD patients in comparison to controls. Interestingly, methylation at three of these CpG sites was inversely correlated to the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores. BDNF promoter methylation was not correlated with motor or cognitive scores in HD patients, and was not associated with sex or age in neither disease nor control groups. Conclusion: Our studies show that BDNF protein levels are decreased in saliva; and BDNF promoter methylation increased in blood in HD subjects when compared to controls. These findings suggest that salivary BDNF measures may represent an early marker of disease onset and DNA methylation at the BDNF promoter IV, could represent a biomarker of psychiatric symptoms in HD patients.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is investigated in depression related to medical disorders and its secretion is influenced by epigenetic factors. We investigated the association between BDNF promoter methylation and depression following mastectomy for breast cancer. METHODS:In total, 309 patients with breast cancer were evaluated 1 week after mastectomy, and 244 (79%) were followed up 1 year later. Depression was diagnosed (major or minor depressive disorder) according to DSM-IV criteria and depression severity was estimated by Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). We assessed BDNF promoter methylation using leukocyte DNA. The effects of BDNF methylation on depression diagnosis and severity were investigated using multivariate logistic and linear regression models, respectively. The two-way interaction between BDNF methylation and the val66met polymorphism on depression was also evaluated using multivariate logistic regression models. RESULTS:Higher BDNF methylation was independently associated with depression diagnosis and with more severe symptoms at both 1 week and 1 year after mastectomy. No significant methylation-genotype interactions were found. CONCLUSION:A role for BDNF in depression related to breast cancer was supported. Indeed, the association between depression and BDNF methylation may be useful for identifying patients who are at high risk for depression and for suggesting directions for promising drug research.
Project description:Downregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression with corresponding increased methylation at specific promoters has been associated with stressful experiences in early life and may explain later adulthood psychopathology. We measured the percentage of methylation at BDNF CpG exons I and IV as well as plasma BDNF protein levels in 115 subjects with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 52 controls. BPD subjects then underwent a 4-week course of intensive dialectical behavior therapy (I-DBT). BDNF methylation status and protein levels were re-assessed at the end of treatment. BPD subjects had significantly higher methylation status in both CpG regions than controls. In addition, the higher the number of childhood trauma, the higher was the methylation status. In BPD subjects, BDNF methylation significantly increased after I-DBT. Nonresponders accounted for the majority of this increase, whereas responders showed a decrease in methylation status over time. Accordingly, the changes in methylation status over time were significantly associated with changes in depression scores, hopelessness scores and impulsivity. No association was found between protein levels and BDNF methylation status. We here found a relationship between child maltreatment and higher DNA methylation of BDNF. These results moreover support the idea that these epigenetic marks may be changed through psychotherapeutic approaches and that these changes underline changes in cognitive functions.
Project description:Though the role of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a marker for major depressive disorder (MDD) and antidepressant efficacy has been widely studied, the role of BDNF in distinct groups of patients remains unclear. We evaluated the diagnostic value of BDNF as a marker of disease severity measured by HAM-D scores and antidepressants efficacy among MDD patients. Fifty-one patients who met DSM-IV criteria for MDD and were prescribed antidepressants and 38 controls participated in this study. BDNF in serum was measured at baseline, 1st, 2nd and 8th treatment weeks. Depression severity was evaluated using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). BDNF polymorphism rs6265 (val66met) was genotyped. We found a positive correlation between blood BDNF levels and severity of depression only among untreated women with severe MDD (HAM-D>24). Serum BDNF levels were lower in untreated MDD patients compared to control group. Antidepressants increased serum BDNF levels and reduced between-group differences after two weeks of treatment. No correlations were observed between BDNF polymorphism, depression severity, duration of illness, age and BDNF serum levels. Further supporting the role of BDNF in the pathology and treatment of MDD, we suggest that it should not be used as a universal biomarker for diagnosis of MDD in the general population. However, it has diagnostic value for the assessment of disease progression and treatment efficacy in individual patients.
Project description:Fluoxetine, one of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, has been thought to be effective for treating post-stroke depression (PSD). Recent work has shown that fluoxetine may exert an antidepressive effect through increasing the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), but the underlying mechanism still remains unclear. In the present study, we successfully established the PSD model using male C57BL/6?J mice by photothrombosis of the left anterior cortex combined with isolatied-housing conditions. In the process, we confirmed that fluoxetine could improve the depression-like behaviors of PSD mice and upregulate the expression of BDNF in the hippocampus. However, depletion of BDNF by transfecting lentivirus-derived shBDNF in hippocampus suppressed the effect of fluoxetine. Furthermore, we demonstrated the epigenetic mechanisms involved in regulation of BDNF expression induced by fluoxetine. We found a statistically significant increase in DNA methylation at specific CpG sites (loci 2) of Bdnf promoter IV in the hippocampus of PSD mice. We also found that fluoxetine treatment could disassociate the MeCP2-CREB-Bdnf promoter IV complex via phosphorylation of MeCP2 at Ser421 by Protein Kinase A (PKA). Our research highlighted the importance of fluoxetine in regulating BDNF expression which could represent a potential strategy for preventing PSD.
Project description:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) exon IX promoter methylation levels, serum BDNF protein levels, and serum mRNA levels were investigated in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls. Over two years, 51 patients with MDD and 62 healthy controls were recruited. Peripheral blood was drawn from all participants to analyze the BDNF exon IX promoter methylation levels as well as serum BDNF protein and mRNA levels, at baseline and after four weeks of antidepressant treatment. Methylation sequential analysis showed that patients with MDD (n = 39) had a higher methylation level at CpG site 217 and lower methylation levels at CpG site 327 and CpG site 362. Drug responders (n = 25) had a higher methylation level at CpG site 24 and CpG site 324 than the non-responders (n = 11). Patients with MDD had a lower serum BDNF protein and mRNA levels than the healthy controls. In conclusion, these results showed that BDNF exon IX promoter methylation levels, serum BDNF protein level, and serum BDNF mRNA level could contribute to the pathophysiology of a major depressive disorder.
Project description:CpG island methylator phenotype of breast cancer is associated with widespread aberrant methylation at specified CpG islands and distinct patient outcomes. However, the influence of copy number contributing to the prognosis of tumors with different CpG island methylator phenotypes is still unclear. We analyzed both genetic (copy number) and epigenetic alterations in 765 breast cancers from The Cancer Genome Atlas data portal and got a panel of 15 biomarkers for copy number and methylation status evaluation. The gene panel identified two groups corresponding to distinct copy number profiles. In status of mere-loss copy number, patients were faced with a greater risk if they presented a higher CpG islands methylation pattern in biomarker panels. But for samples presenting merely-gained copy number, higher methylation level of CpG islands was associated with improved viability. In all, the integration of copy number alteration and methylation information enhanced the classification power on prognosis. Moreover, we found the molecular subtypes of breast cancer presented different distributions in two CpG island methylation phenotypes. Generated by the same set of human methylation 450K data, additional copy number information could provide insights into survival prediction of cancers with less heterogeneity and might help to determine the biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer patients in a more personalized approach.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Spastic cerebral palsy (CP) is a leading cause of physical disability. Most people with spastic CP are born with it, but early diagnosis is challenging, and no current biomarker platform readily identifies affected individuals. The aim of this study was to evaluate epigenetic profiles as biomarkers for spastic CP. A novel analysis pipeline was employed to assess DNA methylation patterns between peripheral blood cells of adolescent subjects (14.9?±?0.3 years old) with spastic CP and controls at single CpG site resolution. RESULTS:Significantly hypo- and hyper-methylated CpG sites associated with spastic CP were identified. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling fully discriminated the CP group from the controls. Machine learning based classification modeling indicated a high potential for a diagnostic model, and 252 sets of 40 or fewer CpG sites achieved near-perfect accuracy within our adolescent cohorts. A pilot test on significantly younger subjects (4.0?±?1.5 years old) identified subjects with 73% accuracy. CONCLUSIONS:Adolescent patients with spastic CP can be distinguished from a non-CP cohort based on DNA methylation patterns in peripheral blood cells. A clinical diagnostic test utilizing a panel of CpG sites may be possible using a simulated classification model. A pilot validation test on patients that were more than 10 years younger than the main adolescent cohorts indicated that distinguishing methylation patterns are present earlier in life. This study is the first to report an epigenetic assay capable of distinguishing a CP cohort.