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Springer Nature [academic journals on], Translational Psychiatry, 1(13), 2023

DOI: 10.1038/s41398-023-02484-5



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Metabolomics signatures of depression: the role of symptom profiles

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AbstractDepression shows a metabolomic signature overlapping with that of cardiometabolic conditions. Whether this signature is linked to specific depression profiles remains undetermined. Previous research suggested that metabolic alterations cluster more consistently with depressive symptoms of the atypical spectrum related to energy alterations, such as hyperphagia, weight gain, hypersomnia, fatigue and leaden paralysis. We characterized the metabolomic signature of an “atypical/energy-related” symptom (AES) profile and evaluated its specificity and consistency. Fifty-one metabolites measured using the Nightingale platform in 2876 participants from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety were analyzed. An ‘AES profile’ score was based on five items of the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS) questionnaire. The AES profile was significantly associated with 31 metabolites including higher glycoprotein acetyls (β = 0.13, p = 1.35*10-12), isoleucine (β = 0.13, p = 1.45*10-10), very-low-density lipoproteins cholesterol (β = 0.11, p = 6.19*10-9) and saturated fatty acid levels (β = 0.09, p = 3.68*10-10), and lower high-density lipoproteins cholesterol (β = −0.07, p = 1.14*10-4). The metabolites were not significantly associated with a summary score of all other IDS items not included in the AES profile. Twenty-five AES-metabolites associations were internally replicated using data from the same subjects (N = 2015) collected at 6-year follow-up. We identified a specific metabolomic signature—commonly linked to cardiometabolic disorders—associated with a depression profile characterized by atypical, energy-related symptoms. The specific clustering of a metabolomic signature with a clinical profile identifies a more homogenous subgroup of depressed patients at higher cardiometabolic risk, and may represent a valuable target for interventions aiming at reducing depression’s detrimental impact on health.