, 218:59

Serum NPY and BNDF response to a behavioral stressor in alcohol-dependent and healthy control participants

  • Donna Meng
  • TingChin Wu
  • Uma Rao
  • Carol S. North
  • Hong Xiao
  • Martin A. Javors
  • Bryon Adinoff
Original Investigation



Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been implicated in both the stress response and alcohol addiction. However, few studies have assessed the NPY and BDNF response to stress in alcohol-dependent participants and the concurrent measure of NPY and BDNF has not been reported in human participants.


The purpose of this study was to concurrently assess serum NPY and BDNF, as well as adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol, in control and race- and aged-matched abstinent alcohol-dependent participants in response to a stress-inducing public-speaking task.


Basal and post-stress serum values of NPY and BDNF, as well as ACTH and cortisol, were assessed in 14 abstinent alcohol-dependent and ten healthy control male participants.


Basal measures were stable over short periods of time and stress induced a significant increase in both NPY (p = 0.002) and BDNF (p = 0.006) as well as ACTH (p < 0.001) and cortisol (p < 0.007). Alcohol-dependent and control groups did not significantly differ on any basal or stress-induced measure. Basal and delta responses of NPY and BDNF were not significantly correlated, and delta peak responses of NPY and BDNF did not correlate with one another or with their respective ACTH and cortisol responses.


These findings reveal that both serum NPY and BDNF are responsive to behavioral stressors, although their regulatory mechanisms appear to differ from one another and those of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. Differences in basal and stress-induced responses of NPY and BDNF were not supported between control and abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor Neuropeptide Y Adrenocorticotropic hormone Cortisol Stress Psychological Alcoholism 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna Meng
    • 1
  • TingChin Wu
    • 1
  • Uma Rao
    • 2
  • Carol S. North
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hong Xiao
    • 4
  • Martin A. Javors
    • 5
  • Bryon Adinoff
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Meharry Medical CollegeNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.VA North Texas Health Care SystemDallasUSA
  4. 4.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA

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