Variazioni nei livelli plasmatici del nerve growth factor in risposta alla terapia elettroconvulsivante

Translated title of the contribution: Changes in nerve growth factor plasma levels during electroconvulsive therapy

A. Iannitelli, L. Aloe, M. Fiore, G. Bersani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim Although several animal studies demonstrated a role for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in seizures, little it is known on the role of NGF in human seizures. The aim of this study was to test the acute NGF response to seizure in a sample of subjects subjected to a standard method such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and to assess the time course of acute NGF response to seizure, as well as whether baseline NGF plasma levels correlate with clinical response to ECT. Material and Methods We studied a sample of 12 male subjects (mean age = 38.17 years; SD = 17.53; range = 18-59 years) admitted at the 3rd Psychiatric Clinic off «La Sapienza» University of Rome, 6 patients with schizophrenia and 6 patients with Mayor Depression according to DSM-IV criteria. The MECTA apparatus, model SR-2, was used to induce seizures. Patients were subjected to bilateral ECT. NGF was assessed at the 1st, 4th and 8th ECT sessions. Blood sampling for the determination of NGF plasma levels was performed each session at 5 minutes before the seizure (-5), 0 min. (baseline) and 5 min. (+5), 15 min. and 30 min. after the seizure. Blood samples were immediately centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 15 min. and thereafter plasma immediately frozen and stored at -70°C. The technique used for reidioimmunoassay was ELISA. The clinical status of the patients has been assessed through the PANSS, HAM-D, SANS and SAPS at the 1st, 4th and 8th ECT sessions. All patients gave informed consent to participate in this study. Results NGF levels decrease during the baseline period (between -5 min. and baseline) in all sessions (1st, 4th and 8th). During the first ECT-induced seizure, mean NGF values increased after 5 min. thereafter gradually returning to baseline levels. The same results were obtained at the 4th and 8th ECT sessions. We found significant correlations in the group of schizophrenic patients between NGF values at time -5 min. and total SANS (p = .04), total SAPS (p = .017) and total PANSS (p = .041). Discussion NGF plasma level decrease between -5 min. and baseline is presumably due to decreased perceived stress. The increased NGF production after 5 min. could represent a protective response to seizure. The correlation between NGF plasma levels and psychopathology shows a possible role of this neurotrophin in the mechanism of ECT and a possible involvement of NGF in the response to this type of treatment.

Translated title of the contributionChanges in nerve growth factor plasma levels during electroconvulsive therapy
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalItalian Journal of Psychopathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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