Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 Mar 1;21(3):207-215. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx089.
Plasma Nervonic Acid Is a Potential Biomarker for Major Depressive Disorder: A Pilot Study.
Background: Diagnostic biomarkers of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are urgently needed, because none are currently available.
Methods: We performed a comprehensive metabolome analysis of plasma samples from drug-free patients with major depressive disorder (n=9), bipolar disorder (n=6), schizophrenia (n=17), and matched healthy controls (n=19) (cohort 1) using liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry. A significant effect of diagnosis was found for 2 metabolites: nervonic acid and cortisone, with nervonic acid being the most significantly altered. The reproducibility of the results and effects of psychotropic medication on nervonic acid were verified in cohort 2, an independent sample set of medicated patients [major depressive disorder (n=45), bipolar disorder (n=71), schizophrenia (n=115)], and controls (n=90) using gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry.
Results: The increased levels of nervonic acid in patients with major depressive disorder compared with controls and patients with bipolar disorder in cohort 1 were replicated in the independent sample set (cohort 2). In cohort 2, plasma nervonic acid levels were also increased in the patients with major depressive disorder compared with the patients with schizophrenia. In cohort 2, nervonic acid levels were increased in the depressive state in patients with major depressive disorder compared with the levels in the remission state in patients with major depressive disorder and the depressive state in patients with bipolar disorder.
Conclusion: These results suggested that plasma nervonic acid is a good candidate biomarker for the depressive state of major depressive disorder.