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Strategies to Identify Biomarkers for Depression

  • Marcelo Paez-Pereda
  • Markus Panhuysen
Chapter

Abstract

Usually, disease biomarkersare directly linked to the biological processes that are involved in the causation and progress of the condition. However, in the case of depression and other psychiatric disorders, the mechanisms responsible for the disease are often poorly understood. Factors that contribute to the difficulty of finding biomarkers for psychiatric diseases include the heterogeneity of each psychiatric disease, the complexity of diagnosis, and the difficult accessibility to biological samples of affected tissues. Here, we present possible approaches for the identification of depression biomarkers. The first, a knowledge-based approach, makes use of our current understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms. As an example, the stress response cascade provides a source for numerous candidate biomarkers. Second, reverse-engineering the biological effects and signaling mechanisms of known antidepressants is another promising way to obtain useful biomarkers. Third, biomarkers could be identified by means of unbiased research. The different “omics” technologies have recently yielded promising results in comparing biological parameters of depressive patients vs. control subjects. However, many of these studies only show an increased mean value for a candidate biomarker in depressive patients, while correlative and longitudinal studies are rare. The validity of these approaches remains to be confirmed by further studies in clinical and epidemiological settings using larger numbers of samples.

Keywords

Bipolar Disorder Depressed Patient Antidepressant Treatment Melatonin Level Glutamatergic Neurotransmission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

ACTH

Adrenocorticotropic hormone

BDNF

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

cAMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

CNS

Central nervous system

Cox-2

Cyclooxigenase 2

CREB

cAMP responsive element binding protein

CRH

Corticotropin-releasing hormone

CRHR

CRH receptor

CRP

C-reactive protein

CSF

Cerebrospinal fluid

EEG

Electroencephalography

EPO

Erythropoietin

FKBP5

FK506-binding immunophilin 5

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

GR

Glucocorticoid receptor

HPA

Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis

HPT

Hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis

hTPH2

Human tryptophan hydroxylase 2

IL-1

Interleukin-1

IL-6

Interleukin-6

IRS

Inflammatory response system

MR

Mineralocorticoid receptor

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

NMDA

N-methyl-D-aspartate

NT-proBNP

N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide

P2X7

Purinergic receptor, ligand-gated ion channel 7

PGE2

Prostaglandin E2

SNP

Single nucleotide polymorphism

T3

Triiodothyronin

TNF-α

Tumor necrosis factor alpha

TSH

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Affectis PharmaceuticalsKraepelinstrasse 2Germany

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