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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Apr;34(3):353-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.09.016. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Angiogenic factors in patients with current major depressive disorder comorbid with borderline personality disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.



Major depression has been associated with endocrine and immune alterations, in particular a dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system with subsequent hypercortisolism and an imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Recent studies suggest that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a cytokine involved in angiogenesis and neurogenesis, may also be dysregulated during stress and depression. These observations prompted us to examine VEGF and other angiogenic factors in patients with major depressive disorder.


Twelve medication-free female patients with a major depressive episode in the context of borderline personality disorder (MDD/BPD) and twelve healthy women were included. Concentrations of VEGF, VEGF receptors 1 and 2, basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), angiopoetin-2, interleukin-8 (IL-8) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) were determined from serum profiles.


Increased concentrations of VEGF and FGF-2 were found in MDD/BPD patients compared to the healthy comparator group. No group differences were found concerning the other angiogenic factors examined.


Depressive episodes in the context of borderline personality disorder may be accompanied by increased serum concentrations of VEGF and FGF-2. Similar findings have been observed in patients with major depression without a borderline personality disorder. A dysregulation of angiogenic factors may be another facet of the endocrine and immunologic disturbances frequently seen in patients with depressive episodes.

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