Biomarkers of Depression: Potential Diagnostic Tools

  • Matea Nikolac Perkovic
  • Gordana Nedic Erjavec
  • Dubravka Svob Strac
  • Nela PivacEmail author


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a severe, chronic, and debilitating mental disorder, with complex biological dysfunctions and of polygenic origin. It is associated with frequent disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), increased suicide risk, decreased quality of life, significant health costs, and high disease burden. There are no biological tests that are able to objectively predict the diagnosis of MDD, and there are no validated biomarkers with high specificity and sensitivity that might facilitate early diagnosis and prevent misdiagnosis. Since MDD is so heterogeneous and associated with different clinical presentation and different clinical symptoms, the development of a single biomarker is highly unlikely. Therefore, there is an unmet need to search for the validated set of different biomarkers or the complex multi-marker panels that might be used to reliably and reproducibly predict and confirm the MDD diagnosis. Reliable panel or a set of biomarkers, when developed, will have a significant clinical use, to lead toward the personalized treatment strategies, and might reduce health costs, DALYs, and decrease disease burden.


Depression Diagnosis Biomarkers Neurotransmitters Neurotrophins Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis Genetic variants Imaging biomarkers 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matea Nikolac Perkovic
    • 1
  • Gordana Nedic Erjavec
    • 1
  • Dubravka Svob Strac
    • 1
  • Nela Pivac
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory for Molecular Neuropsychiatry, Division of Molecular MedicineRudjer Boskovic InstituteZagrebCroatia

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