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Evaluation of physiological factors related to psychotherapy clinical response in Generalized Anxiety Disorder patients

Grant number: 18/18932-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2019 - February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Principal Investigator:Márcio Antonini Bernik
Grantee:Márcio Antonini Bernik
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Emmanuel de Almeida Burdmann ; Francisco Lotufo Neto ; LUCAS MARQUES GANDARELA ; Thiago Pacheco de Almeida Sampaio


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic and disabling condition associated with a reduced quality of life and psychosocial impairment. Despite its social and medical relevance, little is known about GAD's pathogenesis and physiological mechanisms involved in its treatment. While classical theories which suggest the involvement of abnormalities in the mechanisms of gama-amino butiric acid (GABA) and serotonin transduction signaling still remain widely accepted, studies which have pointed anxiety states as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases increased the attention to the possibility of inflammation as a mediator factor in anxiety disorders' physiopathology. The aim of this project is to evaluate the effect of psychotherapy on serotonin, inflammatory factors and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in GAD patients. Method: 96 participants diagnosed with GAD were selected for a randomized clinical trial of an acceptance-based behavioral group therapy with mindfulness and exposition. Blood samples were collected before the first session and after the last session of the psychological treatment. Samples were centrifuged, aliquoted and kept in a -70oC ultrafreezer for subsequent measurements. Serum levels of IL-1, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, alpha-TNF and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) will be determined by the Luminex xMAP technology. The quantitative determination of C-reactive protein will be measured by immunoturbidimetry. Serum levels of serotonin and BDNF will be determined by ELISA. (AU)

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