BDNFVal66met polymorphism: a potential bridge between depression and thrombosis

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AIMS: Epidemiological studies strongly suggest a link between stress, depression, and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs); the mechanistic correlation, however, is poorly understood. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the BDNF gene (BDNFVal66Met), associated with depression and anxiety, has been proposed as a genetic risk factor for CVD. Using a knock-in mouse carrying the BDNFVal66Met human polymorphism, which phenocopies psychiatric-related symptoms found in humans, we investigated the impact of this SNP on thrombosis.

METHODS AND RESULTS: BDNF(Met/Met) mice displayed a depressive-like phenotype concomitantly with hypercoagulable state and platelet hyperreactivity. Proteomic analysis of aorta secretome from BDNF(Met/Met) and wild-type (WT) mice showed differential expression of proteins involved in the coagulation and inflammatory cascades. The BDNF Met allele predisposed to carotid artery thrombosis FeCl3-induced and to death after collagen/epinephrine injection. Interestingly, transfection with BDNF(Met) construct induced a prothrombotic/proinflammatory phenotype in WT cells. SIRT1 activation, using resveratrol and/or CAY10591, prevented thrombus formation and restored the physiological levels of coagulation and of platelet markers in BDNF(Met/Met) mice and/or cells transfected with the Met allele. Conversely, inhibition of SIRT1 by sirtinol and/or by specific siRNA induced the prothrombotic/proinflammatory phenotype in WT mice and cells. Finally, we found that BDNF Met homozygosity is associated with increased risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in humans.

CONCLUSION: Activation of platelets, alteration in coagulation pathways, and changes in vessel wall protein expression in BDNF(Met/Met) mice recapitulate well the features occurring in the anxiety/depression condition. Furthermore, our data suggest that the BDNFVal66Met polymorphism contribute to the individual propensity for arterial thrombosis related to AMI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 24 2015


  • Journal Article


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