J Affect Disord. 2018 May;232:134-138. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.02.039. Epub 2018 Feb 21.
Low cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide levels in human cerebrospinal fluid of major depressive disorder (MDD) patients.
BACKGROUND: Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide is a candidate neuropeptide as a biomarker for major depressive disorder (MDD) because of its effects on emotion and distribution covering brain areas involved in the pathophysiology of MDD symptoms. However, it is unknown whether CART peptide levels are altered in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with MDD patients and are correlated with MDD symptoms.
METHODS: Subjects were 24 patients with MDD and 25 healthy controls matched for age, gender and ethnicity (Japanese). We measured CSF CART levels by a commercially available immunoassay kit and analyzed the relationships of the levels with antidepressant dose and symptoms assessed with the 21 item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-21).
RESULTS: CSF CART levels were significantly decreased in the patients than in the controls (p < 0.05). In MDD patient group, the CART levels had a negative correlation with antidepressant dose (imipramine-equivalent dose) (ρ = -0.55, p < 0.01) and significantly decreased in antidepressant-treated group (AD-treated group) compared to controls (p < 0.05). CSF CART levels showed significant negative correlations with psychomotor retardation, somatic anxiety, and general somatic symptoms (all p < 0.05) and a positive correlation with obsessive and compulsive symptoms (p < 0.05).
LIMITATIONS: In our analysis, all classes of antidepressants were combined together and the effects of medication use in a longitudinal manner did not confirm.
CONCLUSIONS: We report for the first time that CSF CART peptide levels are reduced in patients with MDD compared with healthy controls. The CART levels showed negative correlations with antidepressant dose and some symptoms, supporting the possibility that CART peptide is involved in the development of depressive symptoms.