BDNF concentration and impulsiveness level in post-traumatic stress disorder

Giovanni Martinotti, Gianna Sepede, Marcella Brunetti, Valerio Ricci, Francesco Gambi, Eleonora Chillemi, Federica Vellante, Maria Signorelli, Mauro Pettorruso, Luisa De Risio, Eugenio Aguglia, Francesco Angelucci, Carlo Caltagirone, Massimo Di Giannantonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), impulsiveness has been observed in patients with high levels of hyperarousal. Recent literature reveals the importance of investigating the role of neurotrophins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in several psychiatric disorders. Specifically, contrasting findings have been reported on the levels of serum BDNF in subjects with PTSD. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between BDNF serum levels and impulsiveness in PTSD. To this end, we measured BDNF serum levels in 23 PTSD patients and a control group of 19 trauma-exposed non-PTSD subjects. Results indicate a positive correlation in the PTSD group; that is, the higher the BDNF levels the higher the impulsiveness score, as measured by the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), suggesting that impulsiveness could be associated with greater BDNF production. Alternatively, it is also possible that high impulsiveness acts as a psychological mechanism that counteracts the negative effects exerted by the traumatic experience and the associated obsessive thoughts. The present paper discusses both hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9137
Pages (from-to)814-818
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 30 2015


  • BDNF
  • Impulsiveness
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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