Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a critical cause of morbidity and disability with an economic cost of hundreds of billions of dollars each year, necessitating more effective treatment strategies and novel approaches to translational research. A notable barrier in addressing this public health threat involves reliable identification of the disorder, as many affected individuals remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. An objective blood-based diagnostic test using transcript levels of a panel of markers would provide an invaluable tool for MDD as the infrastructure - including equipment, trained personnel, billing, and governmental approval - for similar tests is well established in clinics worldwide. Here we present a supervised classification model utilizing support vector machines (SVMs) for the analysis of transcriptomic data readily obtained from a peripheral blood specimen. The model was trained on data from subjects with MDD (n=32) and age- and gender-matched controls (n=32). This SVM model provides a cross-validated sensitivity and specificity of 90.6% for the diagnosis of MDD using a panel of 10 transcripts. We applied a logistic equation on the SVM model and quantified a likelihood of depression score. This score gives the probability of a MDD diagnosis and allows the tuning of specificity and sensitivity for individual patients to bring personalized medicine closer in psychiatry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry