OBJECT: Nerve growth factor(NGF) is a protein involved in neuronal survival and plasticity in the central nervous system, which might play an important role in stress, depression and suicide. This study was performed to determine whether there is an alteration in plasma NGF concentrations in depressed patients with suicidal attempt. METHODS: The subjects were 32 depressed patients who attempted suicide and admitted in emergency room. Forty-four hospitalized non-suicidal depressive patients and the 30 normal controls were closely matched with the suicidal group in terms of age and sex. Individuals in all 3 groups were evaluated independently by a semistructured interview for the purpose of establishing a DSM-IV criteria diagnosis. The severity of depressive symptoms was evaluated using Hamilton depression rating scale(HDRS). The severity of the suicidal behavior was evaluated by Weisman and Worden's risk-rescue rating(RRR) system and the Lethality Suicide Attempt Rating Scale(LSARS). Plasma NGF level was measured by the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay(ELISA) method. RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences of the plasma NGF levels among groups. LSARS and RRR did not reveal any significant correlation with beta-NGF level in suicidal depressive patients. CONCLUSION: This study do not support an association between beta-NGF and suicidal depression. However it is necessary to investigate this association through other route such as postmortem brain.