Scientists Identify Molecular Marker of Major Depression

DNA structureFrom Psychiatric News Alert: Increased amounts of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) may serve as a molecular marker of major depression, according to a study published today inCurrent Biology.

Sequencing of two components of the genome suspected to be associated with adverse life experiences revealed a significant association between major depression and the amount of mtDNA.

“We could find no evidence that stressful life events act via changes in mtDNA or telomere length to increase the risk of major depression. These findings identify increased amounts of mtDNA as a molecular marker of major depression and have important implications for understanding how stress causes the disease.” the authors concluded.

Jonathan Flint, a professor of molecular psychiatry at the University of Oxford and senior author on the paper, stated in a press release:

“We have only a snapshot of the relationship between the molecular markers and depression. We want to know how they change over time—before, during, and after a depressive illness. That information will tell us much about their clinical utility.”

To read more on biomarkers for depression, see the Psychiatric News article “Scientists Closer to Finding Tests for DepressionBiomarkers.”

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