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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1997 Feb;22(2):65-78.

Lower serum dipeptidyl peptidase IV activity in treatment resistant major depression: relationships with immune-inflammatory markers.

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University Department of Psychiatry, AZ Stuivenberg, Antwerp, Belgium.


Previous research in this laboratory has shown that major depression is accompanied by decreased serum activity of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV), a serine protease that cleaves N terminal dipeptides from peptides with penultimate proline or alanine. DPP IV is involved in the metabolism of peptides, T cell activation and proliferation, including the production of cytokines, such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-2. The aim of this study was to examine (i) serum DPP IV activity in major and treatment resistant depression (TRD) in relation to other established immune and inflammatory markers of that illness, and (ii) the effects of antidepressive treatment on DPP IV activity. Serum DPP IV activity was significantly lower in major depression and TRD than in normal controls. In normal and major depressed subjects, there were significant and positive relationships between serum DPP IV activity and total serum protein, serum albumin, zinc, iron and transferrin. In the group of depressed subjects, there were significant and positive relationships between serum DPP IV activity and number of CD4+T cells and CD4+/CD8+ T cell ratio. There were no significant effects of subchronic treatment with antidepressants on serum DPP IV activity. The findings suggest that: (i) lower serum DPP activity may occur in chronic depression, TRD as well as in the acute phase of major depression; (ii) lower serum DPP IV accompanies the 'chronic' acute phase response in depression; and (iii) serum DPP IV activity is tightly coupled to increased number of CD4+ T cells in depressed subjects, but not in normal controls. Our results do not exclude the possible effects of longer-term treatment with antidepressants on serum DPP-IV activity.

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