Measuring BDNF in saliva using commercial ELISA: Results from a small pilot study


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein often studied in psychiatric populations. Commercial ELISA kits have been validated for measuring BDNF in blood plasma and serum, but blood collection is an invasive method which cannot always be used. The aim of this pilot study was to explore the noninvasive alternative of measuring BDNF in saliva. Three different commercial ELISA kits were used to analyze parallel plasma and saliva samples from six healthy adults. In total 33 plasma and 33 saliva samples were analyzed according to manufacturers’ standard protocols. BDNF was successfully measured in plasma in two of the three kits, of which the results correlated highly (rs =.88). BDNF could not be measured reliably in saliva. The results of this pilot study suggest that techniques of commercial BDNF kits may not be ready for noninvasive saliva measurements, which limits the sampling frequency and settings.

Psychiatry Research