Serum proteomic profiles of depressive subtypes

F. Lamers, M. Bot, R. Jansen, M. K. Chan, J. D. Cooper, S. Bahn, B. W. J. H. Penninx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Depression is a highly heterogeneous disorder. Accumulating evidence suggests biological and genetic differences between subtypes of depression that are homogeneous in symptom presentation. We aimed to evaluate differences in serum protein profiles between persons with atypical and melancholic depressive subtypes, and compare these profiles with serum protein levels of healthy controls. We used the baseline data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety on 414 controls, 231 persons with a melancholic depressive subtype and 128 persons with an atypical depressive subtype for whom the proteomic data were available. Depressive subtypes were previously established using a data-driven analysis, and 171 serum proteins were measured on a multi-analyte profiling platform. Linear regression models were adjusted for several covariates and corrected for multiple testing using false discovery rate q-values. We observed differences in analytes between the atypical and melancholic subtypes (9 analytes, q<0.05) and between atypical depression and controls (23 analytes, q<0.05). Eight of the nine markers differing between the atypical and melancholic subtype overlapped with markers from the comparison between atypical subtype and controls (mesothelin, leptin, IGFBP1, IGFBP2, FABPa, insulin, C3 and B2M), and were mainly involved in cellular communication and signal transduction, and immune response. No markers differed significantly between the melancholic subtype and controls. To conclude, although some uncertainties exist in our results as a result of missing data imputation and lack of proteomic replication samples, many of the identified analytes are inflammatory or metabolic markers, which supports the notion of atypical depression as a syndrome characterized by metabolic disturbances and inflammation, and underline the importance and relevance of subtypes of depression in biological and genetic research, and potentially in the treatment of depression.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere851
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2016

Cite this