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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2004 Feb;29(2):351-61.

Gene expression profiling of depression and suicide in human prefrontal cortex.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Mood disorders are a major cause of disability. Etiology includes genetic and environmental factors, but the responsible genes have yet to be identified. Using DNA microarrays, we have conducted a large-scale gene expression analysis, in two regions of the human prefrontal cortex from post-mortem matched groups of subjects with major depression who had died by suicide, and control subjects who died from other causes and were free from psychiatric disorders. Bioinformatic analysis was used to investigate molecular and cellular pathways potentially involved in depression and suicidal behavior. We tested several hypotheses of disease pathology and of their putative molecular impact, including changes in single genes, the existence of subgroups of patients or disease subtypes, or the possibility of common biological pathways being affected in the disease process. Within the analytical limits of this relatively large genomic study, we found no evidence for molecular differences that correlated with depression and suicide, suggesting a pathology that is below the detection level of current genomic approaches, or that is either localized to other brain areas, or more associated with post-transcriptional effects and/or changes in protein levels or functions, rather than altered transcriptome in the prefrontal cortex.

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