Depression is one of the major global health challenges and a leading contributor of health related disability and costs. Depression is a heterogeneous disorder and current methods for assessing its severity in clinical practice rely on symptom count, however this approach is unreliable and inconsistent. The clinical evaluation of depressive symptoms is particularly challenging in primary care, where the majority of patients with depression are managed, due to the presence of co-morbidities. Current methods for risk assessment of depression do not accurately predict treatment response or clinical outcomes. Several biological pathways have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression; however, accurate and predictive biomarkers remain elusive. We conducted a systematic review of the published evidence supporting the use of peripheral biomarkers to predict outcomes in depression, using Medline and Embase. Peripheral biomarkers in depression were found to be statistically significant predictors of mental health outcomes such as treatment response, poor outcome and symptom remission; and physical health outcomes such as increased incidence of cardiovascular events and deaths, and all-cause mortality. However, the available evidence has multiple methodological limitations which must be overcome to make any real clinical progress. Despite extensive research on the relationship of depression with peripheral biomarkers, its translational application in practice remains uncertain. In future, peripheral biomarkers identified with novel techniques and combining multiple biomarkers may have a potential role in depression risk assessment but further research is needed in this area.
- peripheral biomarkers
- treatment response
- risk assessment
- major depressive disorder
Jani, B. D., McLean, G., Nicholl, B. I., Barry, S. J. E., Sattar, N., Mair, F. S., & Cavanagh, J. (2015). Risk assessment and predicting outcomes in patients with depressive symptoms: a review of potential role of peripheral blood based biomarkers. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, . https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00018