Are there differences in lipid peroxidation and immune biomarkers between major depression and bipolar disorder: Effects of melancholia, atypical depression, severity of illness, episode number, suicidal ideation and prior suicide attempts

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Abstract

Background:

There is evidence that major depression (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) are accompanied by activated immune & oxidative (I&O) pathways.

Methods:

To compare I&O biomarkers between MDD and BD we assessed serum levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS; a lipid peroxidation marker), soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R), sIL-6R, IL-α, sIL-1R antagonist (sIL-1RA), tumor necrosis factor receptor 60 kDa/80 kDa (sTNFR60/R80) in 114 MDD and 133 BD patients, and 50 healthy controls. We computed z-unit weighted indices reflecting the 5 cytokine receptor levels (zCytR), cell-mediated immunity (zCMI) and I&O pathways (zCMI + TBARS).

Results:

There are no significant differences in biomarkers between MDD and BD. BD/MDD with atypical features is characterized by increased sIL-6R and TBARS, whereas melancholia is associated with higher TBARS and lower sTNFR60 levels. Severity of illness, as measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, is correlated with increased sIL-6R, sTNFR80, TBARS, zCytR and zCMI + TBARS. The number of episodes the year prior to blood sampling is positively associated with sTNFR80, TBARS, zCMI, zCMI + TBARS, while number of hospitalizations is positively associated with sIL-1RA. Prior suicidal attempts are associated with increased sIL-1RA, IL-1α, zCMI, TBARS and zCMI + TBARS, while TBARS is associated with current suicidal ideation.

Conclusions:

There are no I&O biomarker differences between MDD and BD. Atypical depression is associated with increased IL-6 trans-signaling and lipid peroxidation. Severity of depression, number of episodes and suicidal attempts are associated with activated I&O pathways. Increased TBARS is the single best predictor of BD/MDD, atypical depression, melancholia and current suicidal ideation.

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