Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a role in energy homeostasis. However, the postprandial BDNF change has not been well investigated. We hypothesized that the BDNF increment after oral glucose challenge is associated with body weight.
To address this possibility, man adults with obesity in conjunction with metabolic syndrome were compared with normal weight controls at baseline in the initial cross-sectional protocol. The obese subjects then underwent a 12-week program for body-weight reduction in the prospective protocol. The area under the curve (AUC) of serum BDNF was recorded during a 75 g oral glucose tolerant test and the BDNF AUC index was defined as [(AUC of BDNF) − (fasting BDNF*2 hours)]/(fasting BDNF*2 hours).
A total of 25 controls and 36 obese subjects completed the study assessments. In the cross-sectional protocol, the BDNF AUC index was significantly higher in the obese subjects than in the controls (9.0 ± 16.5% vs. − 8.0 ± 22.5%, P = 0.001). After weight reduction (from 97.0 ± 12.5 kg to 88.6 ± 12.9 kg, P < 0.001), the percentage change of body weight was significantly associated with the BDNF AUC index after the study (95% CI between 0.21 and 1.82, P = 0.015). Using 6% weight reduction as a cut-off value, a larger weight reduction was able to reliably predict a negative BDNF AUC index.
In conclusion, a high BDNF AUC index was observed for obese men in this study, whereas the index value significantly decreased after body-weight reduction. These findings suggest that postprandial BDNF increment may be associated with obesity.