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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Oct;15(10):832-8.

The relationship between cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and depression in elderly women.

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  • 1Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Section for Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.



Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers including the 42 amino-acid form of beta-amyloid (Abeta42), total tau protein (T-tau), and the CSF/serum albumin ratio are markers of brain pathology and metabolism. Abeta42 and T-tau are sometimes used to discriminate geriatric depression from mild forms of Alzheimer disease (AD) in clinical studies. However, studies focusing on the relationship between these CSF biomarkers and geriatric depression are lacking.


This was a cross-sectional study with a population-based sample of 84 nondemented elderly women in Sweden. Measurements included neuropsychiatric, physical, and lumbar puncture examinations, with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Revision-based depression diagnoses and measurement of CSF levels of Abeta42, T-tau, albumin, and serum albumin.


Fourteen women (mean age: 72.6 years) had any depression (11 with major depressive disorder [MDD]). Compared to women without depression, women with MDD had higher levels of Abeta42 and the CSF/serum albumin ratio. The CSF/serum albumin ratio was also higher in women with any depression. No differences in T-tau were observed; however, T-tau increased with age.


Higher levels of CSF Abeta42 were observed among elderly depressed women, in contrast to lower levels usually observed in AD, indicating potential neuropathological differences between the two disorders. Higher CSF/serum albumin ratios observed in depressed women point to potential vascular processes.

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