The Impact of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Oxidative Stress in Subjects With Medication-Resistant Depression

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Recent studies have shown that oxidative stress is involved in the neurobiology of depression. We investigated the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on a novel oxidative stress marker, thiol-disulfide homeostasis, in subjects with medication-resistant major depression (MRD).


Twenty-six subjects with MRD underwent 15 rTMS sessions. Sociodemographic and baseline and post-rTMS Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) data were collected. Serum levels of native thiol, total thiol, and disulfide and their pairwise ratios were measured in baseline and post-rTMS blood samples.


Serum levels of native and total thiol were significantly decreased after rTMS treatment (P < 0.05). Serum levels of thiol-disulfide and their ratios did not significantly differ (P > 0.05) between rTMS treatment responders (>50% reduction in MADRS score, n = 11) and rTMS treatment nonresponders (n = 15). The percentage MADRS score changes did not correlate with the changes in the levels of serum thiol-disulfide from baseline to post-rTMS treatment in any subject (P > 0.05).


Our results showed that rTMS treatment was effective in subjects with MRD and was associated with changes in serum thiol levels regardless of improvement in depression severity. Thus, the results did not support a possible therapeutic relationship between rTMS and thiol-disulfide homeostasis in subjects with MRD.

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