Molecular Serum Signature of Treatment Resistant Depression

Ruland et al., Psychopharmacology (2016) - PMID: 27325393

Product(s) used in this publication:  Reference Peptides for Targeted Proteomics - SpikeTides™ & SpikeMix™



A substantial number of patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) do not respond to multiple trials of anti-depressants, develop a chronic course of disease and become treatment resistant. Most of the studies investigating molecular changes in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) have only examined a limited number of molecules and genes. Consequently, biomarkers associated with TRD are still lacking.


This study aimed to use recently advanced high-throughput proteomic platforms to identify peripheral biomarkers of TRD defined by two staging models, the Thase and Rush staging model (TRM) and the Maudsley Staging Model (MSM).


Serum collected from an inpatient cohort of 65 individuals suffering from MDD was analysed using two different mass spectrometric-based platforms, label-free liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS(E)) and selective reaction monitoring (SRM), as well as a multiplex bead based assay.


In the LC-MS(E) analysis, proteins involved in the acute phase response and complement activation and coagulation were significantly different between the staging groups in both models. In the multiplex bead-based assay analysis TNF-α levels (log(odds) = -4.95, p = 0.045) were significantly different in the TRM comparison. Using SRM, significant changes of three apolipoproteins A-I (β = 0.029, p = 0.035), M (β = -0.017, p = 0.009) and F (β = -0.031, p = 0.024) were associated with the TRM but not the MSM.


Overall, our findings suggest that proteins, which are involved in immune and complement activation, may represent potential biomarkers that could be used by clinicians to identify high-risk patients. Nevertheless, given that the molecular changes between the staging groups were subtle, the results need to be interpreted cautiously.


Mass spectrometry; Serum; Staging; Treatment resistant depression

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