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Nerve growth factor (NGF) serum concentrations in healthy human volunteers: Physiological variance and stability
Most of the psychiatric disorders are known to be critically influenced by brain development and plasticity, both of them mediated by neurotrophins. Correspondingly, several studies have examined human NGF serum and plasma concentrations in different psychiatric disorders, but mean NGF values reported in these small studies differ considerably. In this study NGF serum concentrations have been measured in a healthy sample of 126 participants. No normal distribution of NGF levels was found, the median NGF concentration was 19.68pg/ml with an interquartile range of 11.06 to 41.74pg/ml. In our healthy sample, we found no gender differences but a slight age-related decrease of NGF (r=-0.1326, p=0.1560). Intraindividual stability of NGF has been examined in 10 volunteers, where no significant changes of serum NGF concentrations have been detected over 4 weeks. This stability of our repetitive measurements over 4 weeks is possibly reflecting this neurotrophin to be an intraindividually solid marker [Neurosci Lett 2003, 344(1):13–6].