During adaption to stressors, the brain coordinates appropriate responses through close interaction with peripheral systems. The brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has emerged as a potential mediator of long-term stress and adversity effects that bridges central and peripheral pathways. BDNF is an essential facilitator of neuronal plasticity in the developing and adult brain. Following observations that chronic stress reduces BDNF expression and antidepressant administration increases its synthesis, the neurotrophic hypothesis of depression was formulated. Fifteen years later, epigenetic regulation and expression of BDNF are widely researched in pathways from adversity to neurodegeneration and disorder, and conversely, as biomarkers for treatment response. This symposium discusses recent advances in our understanding of the role of BDNF for the development and treatment of stress-related disorders, from basic research to clinical application. Roman Linz will provide insights into serum BDNF dynamics during acute stress, its relation to salivary cortisol and BDNF associations with hippocampal volume. Exploring mechanisms of resilience, Lara Puhlmann will discuss data showing serum BDNF increases following stress-relieving mental training in healthy adults. Subsequently, Eva Unternaehrer will discuss how psychopathological risk factors, symptoms, and psychological treatment relate to BDNF DNA methylation. Jan Engelmann and colleagues will present data on the role of plasma BDNF levels and BDNF exon IV promotor methylation as predictors for antidepressant treatment response, and for memory and executive dysfunctions, in a large cohort of depressed patients. Helge Frieling will present recent data on the clinical usefulness of BDNF exon IV methylation as marker of resistance towards monoaminergic antidepressants.

Zeitfenster der Veranstaltung (1)

From (epi)genetics to cognition

Chair(s): Lara Puhlmann (Leibzig; Mainz), Helge Frieling (Hannover)

Presenter(s): Roman Linz (Leipzig), Lara Puhlmann (Leipzig; Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research, Mainz), Eva Unternaehrer (Konstanz; Basel, Switzerland), Jan Engelmann (Mainz), Helge Frieling (Hannover)