The issue of neurotrophins is recognized as a new lead in the quest for a deeper understanding of mood disorders. This hypothesis has emerged from experimental evidence suggesting that antidepressant drugs might work by a neuroprotective effect through the stimulation of the neurotrophin expression in distinct regions of the CNS. Endogenous levels of BDNF protein were measured in the serum samples of 118 healthy unrelated volunteers (64 male, 54 female, age: 42.1+/-13.0 years), and the NEO-FFI has been performed in all subjects. BDNF serum values amounted to 16.3+/-7.3 ng/ml. BDNF concentration correlated significantly with age (r=0.182, p=0.048), but showed no gender differences (male 16.1+/-7.2, female 16.5+/-7.4 ng/ml). A negative correlation between the BDNF serum concentration and the depression-related factor neuroticism (r=-0.212, p=0.022) has been found. Low BDNF levels in healthy humans with depressive personality traits might constitute a risk marker, reflecting a personality profilethat is linked to vulnerability to mood disorders. These results provide further support for the hypothesis that BDNF may be central to the development of depressive mood states.