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Sci Rep. 2012;2:667. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

Cerebrospinal fluid metabolome in mood disorders-remission state has a unique metabolic profile.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.


Targeted metabolomics provides an approach to quantify metabolites involved in specific molecular pathways. We applied an electrochemistry-based, targeted metabolomics platform to define changes in tryptophan, tyrosine, purine and related pathways in the depressed and remitted phases of major depressive disorder (MDD). Biochemical profiles in the cerebrospinal fluid of unmedicated depressed (n = 14; dMDD) or remitted MDD subjects (n = 14; rMDD) were compared against those in healthy controls (n = 18; HC). The rMDD group showed differences in tryptophan and tyrosine metabolism relative to the other groups. The rMDD group also had higher methionine levels and larger methionine-to-glutathione ratios than the other groups, implicating methylation and oxidative stress pathways. The dMDD sample showed nonsignificant differences in the same direction in several of the metabolic branches assessed. The reductions in metabolites associated with tryptophan and tyrosine pathways in rMDD may relate to the vulnerability this population shows for developing depressive symptoms under tryptophan or catecholamine depletion.

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