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Physiol Behav, 2021; (): 113596, PMID: 34536433

Differential effects of ergometer-cycling and Whole-Body-Vibration training on serological BDNF and IGF-1 in the treatment of adolescent depression - is there an impact of BDNF-p.Val66Met variants?

Year: 2021

Wunram HL, Oberste M, Ziemendorff A, Hamacher S, Kapanci T, Heller R, Blick S, Bloch W, Clajus TC, Schonau E, Bender S, Fricke O
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Electronic address:


BACKGROUND: Pathogenesis and treatment of adolescent depression may be influenced by growth-factors, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). We investigated, if treatment response to two different add-on exercise-therapies in juvenile depression, differ in the changes of BDNF and IGF-1 serology. A subgroup analysis for genetic variations in BDNF p.Val66Met-variants was added. METHODS: Included subjects in the study (N=64), aged 13 to 17 years, were diagnosed with major depression, controls received inpatient treatment as usual (TAU). Intervention groups performed as add-on to TAU two different forms of exercise-therapy: endurance ergometer cycling (EC) and muscle strengthening whole body vibration (WBV). We expected both exercise-forms to increase BDNF and IGF-1 serology and by this pathway to improve depression scores significantly stronger than the control group. RESULTS: None of the experimental groups showed significant changes in BDNF between measurement time points. However, after 6 weeks exercise, BDNF of both intervention groups were significantly higher compared to TAU,. The IGF-1 increase after 6 weeks intervention was significant for EC only. No correlations of BDNF and IGF-1 to depression scores were found. Group analysis in BDNF p.Val66Met variants showed a trend for better response in depression scores to exercise-treatment for the Val66Val group. LIMITATIONS: A small sample size, the non-randomized controls and the neglect of psychosocial factors have to be considered as limitations. CONCLUSIONS: Endurance and muscle strengthening trainings seem to influence serological BDNF and IGF-1 differentially. However, the changes in growth factors did not correlate to the decreases in depression scores. BDNF p.Val66Val variant seems to be more receptive for exercise treatment. Identifying biomarkers (growth factors, genetic variants) in adolescent depression could help to develop tailored treatment strategies.

GID: 5548; Last update: 21.09.2021