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Vol. 20. Issue 4.
Pages 175-180 (April 2024)
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Vol. 20. Issue 4.
Pages 175-180 (April 2024)
Original Article
Cognitive dysfunction, depression and serum level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in Egyptian patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Disfunción cognitiva, depresión y nivel sérico del factor neurotrófico derivado del cerebro (BDNF) en pacientes egipcios con artritis reumatoide
Mona I. Nabiha, Noha M. Khalila, Olfat Shakerb, Mahmoud Ghanemaa, Sarah A. Hassana,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
a Internal Medicine Department, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt
b Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt
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Figures (2)
Tables (4)
Table 1. Characteristics of the studied groups.
Table 2. Comparison between active, inactive rheumatoid arthritis cases and controls.
Table 3. Correlation between cognitive dysfunction and duration of disease, DAS, depression and BDNF level.
Table 4. Correlations between BDNF with age, disease duration, laboratory investigations, in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
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Aim of the work

To evaluate serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in Egyptian patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its relation with cognitive dysfunction.

Patients and methods

The study was carried out on 60 RA patients; 30 were active (group A) and 30 were non active (group B); and 30 controls (group C). RA disease activity was assessed via DAS28 tool, cognitive function via The Montreal Cognitive Assessment and depression via the PHQ depression scale. Serum BDNF levels were measured.


The mean age in group A was 37.8 (±9.37) years with 83.3% females, in group B was 39.97 (±8.04) years with 86.7% females and in group C was 33.17 (±3.6) years with 93.3% females. Abnormal cognitive functions test was detected in 66.7% of group A, 66.7% of group B, and in 23.3% of group C. There was a statistically significant difference in BDNF serum level between both groups of patients (1.58±0.9ng/ml for group A, 1.81±1.17ng/ml for group B) compared with the control group (3.01±1.25ng/ml, p<0.001).

There was no statistically significant difference between BDNF and both disease duration and cognitive function, also no statistically significant difference regarding cognitive function, depression, and BNDF levels in patients with and without fibromyalgia. At a cut-off value of <2ng/ml, BDNF detected RA patients with cognitive dysfunction with a sensitivity of 80%, specificity of 96.67%.


BDNF can be a potential biomarker of cognitive dysfunction in RA patients.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Rheumatoid arthritis
Cognitive dysfunction

Evaluar el factor neurotrófico derivado del cerebro (BDNF) en suero en pacientes egipcios con artritis reumatoide (AR) y su relación con la disfunción cognitiva.

Pacientes y métodos

El estudio se realizó en 60 pacientes con AR; 30 eran activos (grupo A) y 30 no activos (grupo B); y 30 controles (grupo C). La actividad de la enfermedad de AR se evaluó a través de la herramienta DAS28, la función cognitiva a través de la Evaluación Cognitiva de Montreal y la depresión a través de la escala de depresión PHQ. Se midieron los niveles de BDNF en suero.


La edad media en el grupo A fue de 37,8 (±9,37) años con 83,3% de mujeres, en el grupo B de 39,97 (±8,04) años con 86,7% de mujeres y en el grupo C de 33,17 (±3,6) años con 93,3% de mujeres. La prueba de funciones cognitivas anormales se detectó en 66,7% del grupo A, 66,7% del grupo B y 23,3% del grupo C. Hubo una diferencia estadísticamente significativa en el nivel sérico de BDNF entre ambos grupos de pacientes (1,58±0,9ng/mL para grupo A, 1,81±1,17ng/mL para el grupo B) en comparación con el grupo control (3,01±1,25ng/mL, p<0,001).

No hubo diferencias estadísticamente significativas entre el BDNF y la duración de la enfermedad y la función cognitiva, tampoco hubo diferencias estadísticamente significativas con respecto a la función cognitiva, la depresión y los niveles de BDNF en pacientes con y sin fibromialgia. A un valor de corte de <2ng/mL, BDNF detectó pacientes con AR con disfunción cognitiva con una sensibilidad de 80% y una especificidad de 96,67%.


BDNF puede ser un biomarcador potencial de disfunción cognitiva en pacientes con AR.

Palabras clave:
Factor neurotrófico derivado del cerebro
Artritis reumatoide
Disfunción cognitiva


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