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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;15(2):135-44. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2013.766762. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Pharmacogenomic predictors of citalopram treatment outcome in major depressive disorder.

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McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Depressive Disorders Program, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University , Montreal, Quebec , Canada.



A significant proportion of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not improve following treatment with first-line antidepressants and, currently, there are no objective indicators of predictors of antidepressant response. The aim of this study was to investigate pre-treatment peripheral gene expression differences between future remitters and non-responders to citalopram treatment and identify potential pharmacogenomic predictors of response.


We conducted a gene expression study using Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus2 microarrays in peripheral blood samples from untreated individuals with MDD (N = 77), ascertained at a community outpatient clinic, prior to an 8-week treatment with citalopram. Gene expression differences were assessed between remitters and non-responders to treatment. Technical validation of significant probesets was carried out by qRT-PCR.


A total of 434 probesets displayed significant correlation to change in score and 33 probesests were differentially expressed between eventual remitters and non-responders. Probesets for SMAD 7 (SMA- and MAD-related protein 7) and SIGLECP3 (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin, pseudogene 3) were the most significant differentially expressed genes following FDR correction, and both were down-regulated in individuals who responded to treatment.


These findings point to SMAD7 and SIGLECP3 as candidate predictive biomarkers of antidepressant response.

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