Biomarkers

Biomarkers

Immune biomarkers in depression

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Anja Schwar

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BY

Anja Schwar

The identification of clinically relevant and reproducible biomarkers in the field of psychiatry has received increased attention recently in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment strategies of psychiatric disorders.

Research has identified the immune system as a key role player in psychiatric disorders, including depression. It has repeatedly been found that central and peripheral levels of inflammatory proteins are elevated in a subset of depressed individuals. A recent study found that these individuals not only had increased levels of the inflammatory proteins C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 but also significantly increased counts of the neutrophil, CD4 + T cell and monocytic immune cell subsets
(https://doi.org 10.1016j.biopsych.2019.11.017).

The severity of depressive symptoms was increased with higher myeloid and CD4 + T cell counts. Importantly, based on the results of this study, the depressed patients could be subdivided into inflamed and uninflamed subgroups, identifying depressed patients that could benefit from immune (e.g. anti-inflammatory) therapies. This method of patient stratification can greatly increase the success of a new drug for psychiatric disorders in clinical trials.

Synexa Life Sciences has considerable expertise in biomarker strategy development and is able to quantify a broad range of immunological biomarkers, including immune cells and inflammatory proteins, in serum, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Using our MesoScale Discovery platform, we can analyse up to 30 biomarkers, including cytokines and chemokines, at a time, while our flow cytometry platform can provide an in-depth understanding of the immune profile in depressive patients.

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