Dysregulation of leukocyte gene expression in women with medication-refractory depression versus healthy non-depressed controls

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Background: Depressive Disorders (DD) are a great financial and social burden. Females display 70% higher rate of depression than males and more than 30% of these patients do not respond to conventional medications. Thus medication-refractory female patients are a large, under-served, group where new biological targets for intervention are greatly needed.Methods: We used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to evaluate mRNA gene expression from peripheral blood leukocytes for 27 genes, including immune, HPA-axis, ion channels, and growth and transcription factors. Our sample included 23 females with medication refractory DD: 13 with major depressive disorder (MDD), 10 with bipolar disorder (BPD). Our comparison group was 19 healthy, non-depressed female controls. We examined differences in mRNA expression in DD vs. controls, in MDD vs. BPD, and in patients with greater vs. lesser depression severity.Results: DD patients showed increased expression for IL-10, IL-6, OXTR, P2RX7, P2RY1, and TRPV1. BPD patients showed increased APP, CREB1, NFKB1, NR3C1, and SPARC and decreased TNF expression. Depression severity was related to increased IL-10, P2RY1, P2RX1, and TRPV4 expression.Conclusions: These results support prior findings of dysregulation in immune genes, and provide preliminary evidence of dysregulation in purinergic and other ion channels in females with medication-refractory depression, and in transcription and growth factors in those with BPD. If replicated in future research examining protein levels as well as mRNA, these pathways could potentially be used to explore biological mechanisms of depression and to develop new drug targets. © 2013 Iacob et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Iacob, E., Light, K. C., Tadler, S. C., Weeks, H. R., White, A. T., Hughen, R. W., … Light, A. R. (2013). Dysregulation of leukocyte gene expression in women with medication-refractory depression versus healthy non-depressed controls. BMC Psychiatry, 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-13-273

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