BDNF increases associated with constant troponin T levels and may protect against poor cognitive interference control: The SABPA prospective study

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BACKGROUND: Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates brain health and cognition, which can interfere with executive cognitive function. BDNF was implicated with microcirculatory ischemia and may reflect cardiomyocyte injury. We aimed to determine whether prospective changes (%Δ) in BDNF and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) will be associated with executive cognitive function in a bi-ethnic cohort.

DESIGN: A prospective investigation was conducted over a three-year period in a bi-ethnic sex cohort (N=338; aged 20-65 years) from South Africa. Fasting serum samples for BDNF and cTnT were obtained. The STROOP colour-word conflict test (CWT) was applied to assess executive cognitive function at baseline.

RESULTS: In Blacks, BDNF (p<0.001) increased over the three-year period whilst cTnT did not change. In contrast, in Whites, BDNF and cTnT decreased over three years. In Black men, no change in cTnT was associated with increased ΔBDNF (β=0.25; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.45; p=0.02). In the Black men, constant cTnT levels were inversely associated with executive cognitive function (β= -0.33; 95% CI -0.53 to -0.12; p=0.003). Three year increases in BDNF increased the likelihood for chronic lower cTnT levels at a pre-established cut-point of < 4.2 ng/L [OR=2.35 (1.12 to 4.94), p=0.02]. The above associations were not found in the White sex groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Central neural control mechanisms may have upregulated BDNF in Black men as a way to protect against myocardial stress progression and to possibly improve processes related to cognitive interference control. High-sensitive cTnT levels may act as an early predictor of disturbed neural control mechanisms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


  • Esmé Jansen van Vuren
  • Leoné Malan
  • Roland von Känel
  • Martin Magnusson
  • Leandi Lammertyn
  • Nicolaas T Malan
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • North-West University
  • University Hospital of Zurich
  • Skåne University Hospital

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Kardiologi
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Utgåva nummer7
Tidigt onlinedatum2019 apr 1
StatusPublished - 2019 jul
Peer review utfördJa

Bibliografisk information

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.