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Psychiatry Res. 2010 Jan 30;175(1-2):78-81. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2009.01.001. Epub 2009 Dec 6.

Cholesterol and affective morbidity.

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Department of Psychiatry, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


Depression and mania have been linked with low cholesterol though there has been limited prospective study of cholesterol and subsequent course of affective illness. We studied the relationship between fasting total cholesterol and subsequent depressive and manic symptoms. A total of 131 participants from a prospective cohort study were identified as having had a fasting total cholesterol evaluation at intake. Participants were predominantly inpatients at index visit and were followed for a median of 20 and up to 25 years. Cholesterol was modeled with age, gender, and index use of a mood stabilizer in linear regression to assess its influence on subsequent depressive symptom burden in participants with unipolar disorder as well as depressive and manic symptom burden in participants with bipolar disorder. Among bipolar participants (N=65), low cholesterol predicted a higher proportion of follow-up weeks with manic, but not depressive symptoms. Cholesterol did not appear to predict depressive symptom burden among participants with unipolar depression (N=66). Lower cholesterol levels may predispose individuals with bipolar disorder to a greater burden of manic symptomatology and may provide some insight into the underlying neurobiology.

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