Decreased plasma concentrations of BDNF and IGF-1 in abstinent patients with alcohol use disorders.

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The identification of growth factors as potential biomarkers in alcohol addiction may help to understand underlying mechanisms associated with the pathogenesis of alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Previous studies have linked growth factors to neural plasticity in neurocognitive impairment and mental disorders. In order to further clarify the impact of chronic alcohol consumption on circulating growth factors, a cross-sectional study was performed in abstinent AUD patients (alcohol group, N = 91) and healthy control subjects (control group, N = 55) to examine plasma concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and IGF-1 binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3). The association of these plasma peptides with relevant AUD-related variables and psychiatric comorbidity was explored. The alcohol group was diagnosed with severe AUD and showed an average of 13 years of problematic use and 10 months of abstinence at the moment of participating in the study. Regarding common medical conditions associated with AUD, we observed an elevated incidence of alcohol-induced liver and pancreas diseases (18.7%) and psychiatric comorbidity (76.9%). Thus, AUD patients displayed a high prevalence of dual diagnosis (39.3%) [mainly depression (19.9%)] and comorbid substance use disorders (40.7%). Plasma BDNF and IGF-1 concentrations were significantly lower in the alcohol group than in the control group (p
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