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Curr Drug Targets. 2013 Oct;14(11):1237-48.

Serum S100B represents a new biomarker for mood disorders.

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Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Stephanstr. 1A, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


Recently, mood disorders have been discussed to be characterized by glial pathology. The protein S100B, a growth and differentiation factor, is located in, and may actively be released by astro- and oligodendrocytes. This protein is easily assessed in human serum and provides a useful parameter for glial activation or injury. Here, we review studies investigating the glial marker S100B in serum of patients with mood disorders. Studies consistently show that S100B is elevated in mood disorders; more strongly in major depressive than bipolar disorder. Consistent with the glial hypothesis of mood disorders, serum S100B levels interact with age with higher levels in elderly depressed subjects. Successful antidepressive treatment has been associated with serum S100B reduction in major depression, whereas there is no evidence of treatment effects in mania. In contrast to the glial marker S100B, the neuronal marker protein neuron-specific enolase is unaltered in mood disorders. Recently, serum S100B has been linked to specific imaging parameters in the human white matter suggesting a role for S100B as an oligodendrocytic marker protein. In sum, serum S100B can be regarded as a promising in vivo biomarker for mood disorders deepening the understanding of the pathogenesis and plasticity-changes in these disorders. Future longitudinal studies combining serum S100B with other cell-specific serum parameters and multimodal imaging are warranted to further explore this serum protein in the development, monitoring and treatment of mood disorders.

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