The aim of our research was to investigate the potential role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in diabetic retinopathy (DR). Measurement of serum circulating levels of BDNF and analysis of polymorphism of BDNF gene (Val66Met) were applied and compared with diabetic patients without DR.Methods:
From February 2014 and March 2015, all eligible patients with Type 2 diabetic mellitus at our hospital were consecutively recruited (N = 404). Their serum BDNF levels were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. BDNF val66met polymorphism genotyping was conducted according to the laboratory's standard protocol. At baseline, demographic and clinical data were taken. The relationship of BDNF with DR was investigated with the use of logistic regression models. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to test the overall accuracy of BDNF and other markers.Results:
Diabetic patients with DR and vision-threatening DR had significantly lower BDNF levels on admission (P < 0.0001 both). The BDNF genotyping results showed that there was no difference between the diabetic patients with DR and those without DR. Multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for common risk factors showed that serum BDNF levels were independent risk factors for DR (odds ratio = 0.86; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.80–0.92; P < 0.0001) and vision-threatening DR (odds ratio = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.75–0.85; P < 0.0001). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor improved the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of the diabetes duration for DR from 0.69 (95% CI: 0.60–0.76) to 0.85 (95% CI: 0.79–0.90; P < 0.01) and for vision-threatening DR from 0.77 (95% CI: 0.67–0.87) to 0.86 (95% CI: 0.80–0.92; P < 0.01).Conclusion:
The present study demonstrated that, rather than Val66Met polymorphism, decreased serum levels of BDNF were associated with DR and vision-threatening DR in Chinese Type 2 diabetic patients, suggesting a possible role of BDNF in the pathogenesis of DR complications.