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Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):289-93. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.07.011. Epub 2012 Aug 5.

Associations of depressive symptoms with serum proportions of palmitic and arachidonic acids, and α-tocopherol effects among male population--a preliminary study.

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Department of Drug Management and Policy, Institute of Medical, Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan.



Recent years, inflammation and oxidative stress have been addressed in relation to interactions between fatty acid (FA) and depression. To study the associations between FAs and depressive symptoms in men, serum FA proportion was compared with perceived depression. We also measured α-tocopherol (a-Toc) levels to investigate the associations with FA functions.


A cross-sectional study was performed on 113 male workers recruited from a software development company in Japan. Depressive symptoms were assessed according to the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Twenty-four FAs in the serum from the peripheral blood were examined.


CES-D scores were significantly positively correlated with the serum percentage of palmitic acid (PA), while they were negatively correlated with arachidonic acid (AA). The CES-D scores were not correlated with the serum ratio of docosahexaenoic acid or eicosapentaenoic acid (n-3 poly-unsaturated FAs (PUFAs)). CES-D scores were significantly negatively correlated with a-Toc/PA ratio (correlation: adjusting for possible confounders).


Although no associations were found between depressive symptoms and n-3 PUFA proportions in male population, depressive symptoms were positively correlated with PA percentages and negatively correlated with AA percentages. PA may increase neural vulnerability and AA may decrease the severity of depression. Moreover, a-Toc may have protective effects against depressive symptoms.

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