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Increase of BDNF serum concentration in lithium treated patients with early Alzheimer’s disease


Leyhe, Thomas, Eschweiler, Gerhard W., Stransky, Elke, Gasser, Thomas, Annas, Peter, Basun, Hans, Laske, Christoph


Journal Of Alzheimer's Disease: JAD, Volume: 16, No.: 3, Pages.: 649-656

Year of Publication



Preclinical and clinical studies gave evidence that lithium could be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In experimental investigations, lithium induces brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Recent studies have found a decrease of BDNF in the serum and brains of AD patients with potentially consecutive lack of neurotrophic support. We assessed the influence of a lithium treatment on BDNF serum concentration in a subset of a greater sample recruited for a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group multicenter 10-week study, investigating the efficacy of lithium treatment in AD patients. In AD patients treated with lithium, a significant increase of BDNF serum levels, and additionally a significant decrease of ADAS-Cog sum scores in comparison to placebo-treated patients, were found. Diminution of cognitive impairment was inversely correlated with lithium serum concentration. Upregulation of BDNF might be part of a neuroprotective effect of lithium in AD patients. The results of the present investigation encourage performing studies with longer treatment phases to observe potential positive long-term effects of lithium in AD patients.;


administration & dosage, aged, aged, 80 and over, alzheimer disease, antipsychotic agents, blood, brainderived, cognition disorders, drug therapy, factor, female, humans, levels, lithium, lithium compounds, male, middle aged, neuroprotective agents, neurotrophic, placebos, severity of illness index

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Cognition, Other

Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Antipsychotics and antidepressants