Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Alzheimer's Biomarker Linked to Major Depression

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Medscape Today

Deborah Brauser

disorder (MDD) may have low levels of amyloid beta 42 (Aß-42), a biomarker that has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD), new research suggests.

In a small study of older adult volunteers who had no mild cognitive impairment (MCI), those with MDD had significantly lower cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of Aß-42 than those without depression.

In addition, levels of F2-isoprostane, considered a biomarker of oxidative stress, were higher for the participants with MDD.

"Current treatments for depression are not very satisfactory," lead author Nunzio Pomara, MD, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York, and professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, told Medscape Medical News.

"That's why, in my opinion, it's important to explore novel mechanisms which would underlie the development of depression in humans," said Dr. Pomara.

He noted that this study was an "interesting first step" and that if its findings bear out in further research, it may lead to the development of better therapeutic interventions.

"One must be very cautious because this was a small study. But I believe its importance lies not so much in finding a final truth about pathogenesis of depression but really in setting the stage for future studies of this molecule as a possible factor in both the development of depression and in shaping Alzheimer's disease."

The study was published online March 28 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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