BDNFVal66met polymorphism: a potential bridge between depression and thrombosis

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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

BDNFMet/Met mice displayed a depressive-like phenotype concomitantly with hypercoagulable state and platelet hyperreactivity. Proteomic analysis of aorta secretome from BDNFMet/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 BDNFMet 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 BDNFMet/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.


Activation of platelets, alteration in coagulation pathways, and changes in vessel wall protein expression in BDNFMet/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.

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