Evaluation of BDNF levels in patients hospitalized for physical trauma at an emergency hospital in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil

Abstract Objective To assess the association between brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels and acute stress disorder (ASD) in patients who have suffered physical trauma. Methods Data were collected at an emergency hospital in Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. Participants were over 18 years of age, victims of physical trauma, and had been hospitalized for a minimum of 48 hours. A total of 117 hospitalized patients who agreed to participate in the research were grouped according to the shift in which blood was collected (38 subjects from the morning shift and 79 from the afternoon shift), had their BDNF levels measured and responded to other questionnaires. Respondents were further grouped by age into three ranges: 18-30, 31-50 and 51-70 years. Results We found a significant difference in the distribution of BDNF between the two shifts in which blood samples were collected, with the afternoon group having higher BDNF levels (U = 1906.5, p = 0.018). A difference was observed only between the 18-30 group and the 51-70 group in the afternoon shift (Umorning = 1107, pmorning = 0.575; Uafternoon = 7175, pafternoon = 0.028). Conclusions The population whose blood samples were collected in the afternoon showed significantly higher values of BDNF compared to those of the morning shift. This same population presented lower BDNF levels when associated with ASD subtypes A1, A2, and A. We hypothesize that the lower values of BDNF measured in the morning shift were due to a response to the circadian cycle of cortisol, whose action inhibits the expression of serum neurotrophins.