July 13th, 2020

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Circulating Levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor at the Start of an IVF Cycle and Association with Subsequent Pregnancy Loss Differ Between Black and White Women
Authors:  Simone Elder, M.D., Mohamed Irani, M.D., Dimitrios Nasioudis, M.D., Steven S. Witkin, Ph.D., and Steven Spandorfer, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: Black (African American) women have the lowest successful pregnancy outcomes following in vitro fertilization (IVF). This difference remains after controlling for body mass index, hormone levels, and fertility diagnosis. Previous work on associations between biomarkers and IVF outcomes have focused mostly on White, non-Hispanic women. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been shown to predict IVF outcome in White women.

STUDY DESIGN: In this retrospective study we quantitated BDNF levels in sera of Black women and White women at the start of their IVF cycle and related the findings to pregnancy outcome.

RESULTS: Black women had significantly elevated levels of BDNF at the start of the IVF cycle as compared to White women (83.3±4.4 vs. 5.1±0.5, p<0.001). In addition, reduced BDNF levels were associated with an increased rate of pregnancy loss in Blacks (p<0.02), while the reverse was true for Whites (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Circulating BDNF concentrations may be a previously undetected factor to help explain racial differences in IVF outcome.
Keywords:  African Americans, assisted reproductive techniques, BDNF, Blacks, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, fetal death, in vitro fertilization, outcomes, race factors, racial factors
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