The Correlation between BDNF gene polymorphism and the long-term outcome of ischemic stroke patients undergoing acute iTBS

Project Objectives

BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is the most abundant neurotrophin in the brain and is involved in the brain plasticity processes. BDNF is able to quickly change the efficacy of synaptic transmission and LTP capacity (Long-term potentiation) and LTD (Long-term depression). The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) val66met of the BDNF gene, present in one or both alleles in approximately 30% of the population, causes a reduction of BDNF protein release. Animal studies have suggested BDNF’s possible crucial role in recovery after ischemic stroke. Human studies have not yet confirmed this hypothesis.

Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) is a protocol of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). When applied to the motor cortex, TBS develops certain effects on cortical excitability that resemble LTP and LTD at the synaptic level. These effects can be analyzed by recording cortical excitability parameters as obtained by TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) of the motor cortex.

Recent experimental evidence suggests that, in patients with ischemic stroke, changes of cortical excitability after application of acute iTBS (intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation) on the injured hemisphere are correlated with motor recovery at 6 months.

This study aims to assess whether BDNF genotype-related differences influence the long-term outcome of patients who have suffered ischemic stroke, whose parameters of cortical excitability were recorded before and after the application of the iTBS protocol to the injured hemisphere within a few days after the acute event.

Start/End Date

2013 - 2014

Principal Investigator

Prof. Vincenzo Di Lazzaro

Host Institution

Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome