MAR 18, 2022 12:45 PM PDT

Researchers Identify New Biomarker for Depression and Treatment Response

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have identified a novel biomarker for depression that predicts the efficacy of antidepressant treatment. The corresponding research was published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are one of the most commonly used antidepressant treatments for the disorder however can take months to work and are not effective for all patients. 

"When you are depressed, adenylyl cyclase is low, " said Mark Rasenick, lead author of the study, "The reason adenylyl cyclase is attenuated is that the intermediary protein that allows the neurotransmitter to make the adenylyl cyclase, Gs alpha, is stuck in a cholesterol-rich matrix of the membrane -- a lipid raft -- where they don't work very well."

For the present study, the researchers included 49 participants aged 30–65 who met the diagnostic criteria for MDD, as well as 59 healthy controls. The participants gave two blood samples, one week apart, to check for the presence of Gs alpha, with a third being optional for those who chose to take medication.

In the end, the researchers found that MDD subjects had lower adenyl cyclase levels than the control samples. In medicated patients who showed improvement, however, levels of adenyl cyclase were elevated by at least 30%, and Gs Alpha was shown to be out of the membrane.

These findings, say the researchers, indicate that GS Alpha could be used as a biomarker to identify individual responses to antidepressant medication. Within a week of treatment, blood tests would be able to show whether or not Gs alpha is inside lipid rafts, and thus indicate treatment efficacy.

The researchers noted several limitations to their findings. The small sample of participants may not be representative of the wider population. The study also lacked a placebo group, so the researchers were unable to establish whether changes arose from antidepressant usage or other means. 

In future studies, they hope to determine the full utility of the biomarker and whether it can predict antidepressant response before clinical metrics. 

 

Sources: ScienceDailyMolecular Psychology

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUN 07, 2022
Neuroscience
Fundamentally Changing Our Understanding of Alzheimer's Disease
JUN 07, 2022
Fundamentally Changing Our Understanding of Alzheimer's Disease
While buildups of aberrant proteins called amyloid plaques have long been linked to the development of Alzheimer's d ...
JUN 23, 2022
Neuroscience
Drumming Positively Impacts the Functioning of Youth with Autism
JUN 23, 2022
Drumming Positively Impacts the Functioning of Youth with Autism
A study published in Neuroscience explored the effects of drumming on the behavior and brain functioning of autistic tee ...
JUL 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
JUL 16, 2022
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
Oxytocin nasal sprays do not improve the recognition of emotions such as anger and sadness in healthy men without autism ...
JUL 19, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Experimental Cancer Drug Regrows Nerves in Spinal Cord Injury
JUL 19, 2022
Experimental Cancer Drug Regrows Nerves in Spinal Cord Injury
An experimental cancer drug can regenerate damaged nerves following spinal trauma in mice and rats. The corresponding re ...
JUL 28, 2022
Technology
How Does Blue Light from Digital Screens Affect Us As We Age?
JUL 28, 2022
How Does Blue Light from Digital Screens Affect Us As We Age?
Digital screens are now ubiquitous in our society. Whether T.V.s, laptops, or phones, we engage with screens essentially ...
JUL 31, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers draw connection between high-potency cannabis, mental health and addiction issues
JUL 31, 2022
Researchers draw connection between high-potency cannabis, mental health and addiction issues
In a recent study published in Lancet Psychiatry, a team of researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at th ...
Loading Comments...