The brain-derived neurotophic factor Val66Met polymorphism predicts response to exposure therapy in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Felmingham, KL and Dobson-Stone, C and Schofield, PR and Quirk, GJ and Bryant, RA, The brain-derived neurotophic factor Val66Met polymorphism predicts response to exposure therapy in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Biological Psychiatry, 73, (11) pp. 1059-1063. ISSN 0006-3223 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Background: The most effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is exposure therapy, which aims to facilitate
extinction of conditioned fear. Recent evidence suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) facilitates extinction learning.
This study assessed whether the Met-66 allele of BDNF, which results in lower activity-dependent secretion, predicts poor response to
exposure therapy in PTSD.
Methods: Fifty-five patients with PTSD underwent an 8-week exposure-based cognitive behavior therapy program and provided
mouth swabs or saliva to extract genomic DNA to determine their BDNF Val66Met genotype (30 patients with the Val/Val BDNF allele,
25 patients with the Met-66 allele). We examined whether BDNF genotype predicted reduction in PTSD severity following exposure
Results: Analyses revealed poorer response to exposure therapy in the PTSD patients with the Met-66 allele of BDNF compared with
patients with the Val/Val allele. Pretreatment Clinician Administered PTSD Scale severity and BDNF Val66Met polymorphism predicted
response to exposure therapy using hierarchical regression.
Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that the BDNF Val66Met genotype predicts response to cognitive behavior therapy
in PTSD and is in accord with evidence that BDNF facilitates extinction learning.