A new study suggests a simple blood test could be developed to identify depression and measure antidepressant response

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New research published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry sets the groundwork for the development of a simple blood test to identify depression and measure antidepressant response.

It has already been shown that in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), the heterotrimeric G protein, Gsα, is trapped in the cholesterol-rich matrix of the cell membrane (lipid rafts), resulting in impaired stimulation of adenylyl cyclase.

This small proof-of-concept study investigated whether Gsα could be a biomarker for MDD.

As part of the study, platelet samples were collected from 49 subjects with MDD and 59 healthy controls. Analysis showed that MDD patients had significantly lower prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) activation of adenylyl cyclase activity compared to controls (P=.02).

Subsequently, 19 MDD patients completed a 6-week antidepressant treatment trial. 11 patients responded to treatment. Responders demonstrated significantly increased PGE1-stimulated adenylyl cyclase compared to non-responders (P=.05).

The authors say these data suggest that a simple blood test could be developed to identify depression and measure response to antidepressant medications. However, they say, future studies are needed to evaluate the true utility of this biomarker for the treatment of MDD.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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