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J Affect Disord. 2013 Nov;151(2):667-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Identification of altered dipeptidyl-peptidase activities as potential biomarkers for unipolar depression.

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  • 1Clinical Pharmacology Unit, GlaxoSmithKline, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2GG, UK.



Changes in circulatory aminopeptidases [dipeptidyl-peptidase-IV (DPP-IV), Prolyl-oligopeptidase (POP) and Leucine aminopeptidase (LAP)] activities have been found to be associated with psychiatric illnesses and inflammatory diseases.


The discriminatory indices of aminopeptidases activities were assessed by enzymatic assays in plasma samples from 240 unipolar depression (UD) patients and 264 matched controls. In addition the relationship between soluble and cellular DPP-IV activity was determined in plasma and blood cells from healthy subjects.


Greater than 95% of the plasma DPP-IV activity could be blocked by inhibitors, demonstrating the specificity of the assay. Also, DPP-IV protein and activity levels were strongly correlated. In contrast, only 50% of the membrane-bound activity in blood cells was inhibited, which suggested that other similar peptidases may be present in these cells. UD patients had decreased plasma levels of DPP-IV and POP activities compared to healthy controls with a concomitant increase in LAP activity. Finally, testing of the LAP/DPP-IV ratio resulted in good discrimination of UD patients from controls with an area under the curve-receiver operating characteristic of 0.70.


Further biological validation studies using different cohorts are warranted.


The finding that plasma DPP-IV activity was decreased and LAP activity was increased in UD patients suggests the potential value for testing the levels of these enzymes for improved classification of patients. In addition, the changes in these enzymes, suggests that the proteolytic maturation of their proneuropeptide and prohormone subtrates may also be affected in UD, resulting in altered production of the associated bioactive peptides.

Crown Copyright © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Aminopeptidase; Biomarkers; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Plasma; Unipolar depression

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