Background: Suicide is an important public problem, the mechanism of which has not been clarified. Many studies have focused on the molecular, biological and genetic mechanisms of suicide. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) G196A is one of the most leading loci in recent studies, but the results are inconsistent. Methods: We conducted a 1:1 age- and sex-matched case-control study in rural areas of Shandong Province, China. A total of 365 pairs of cases and controls were finally recruited into our study. The adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of BDNF 196G/G and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated by multivariate conditional logistic regression models. Results: No association between BDNF polymorphisms and attempted suicide was found in the overall population. However, the BDNF 196G/G genotype was significantly related to attempted suicide in the elderly population (AOR = 7.85, 95% CI: 1.12-54.90, p = 0.038), while the associations were not significant in young and middle-aged groups. Conclusion: Our study suggests that the BDNF 196G/G genotype increases the risk of attempted suicide in elderly people.

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