Autoimmunity in depression: increased antiphospholipid autoantibodies

M. Maes*, H. Meltzer, J. Jacobs, E. Suy, J. Calabrese, B. Minner, J. Raus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Some groups have recently reported higher titers of autoantibodies in depressed subjects than in normal controls. The present study investigates whether depressed patients exhibit increased antiphospholipid antibody titers compared with normal controls. The authors measured the binding index (BI) of antiphosphatidylserine (APSA), antipartial thromboplastin (APTA) and anticardiolipin (ACA) in 22 minor, 23 simple major and 20 melancholic depressives, 10 healthy controls and 104 normal controls with negative autoantibody sera. Depressed subjects exhibited significantly higher APSA and APTA antibody titers compared with normal controls. A large number of depressed subjects (± 54%) showed APTA and APSA positivity, defined as BI≥2 standard deviations above the mean BI of normal controls. There was a significant discrimination (≥2.8 standard deviations) between melancholic subjects and healthy controls with respect to BI of ACA, APSA and APTA. However, by using a more conservative value for phospholipid positivity (i.e., BI≥5 standard deviations above the mean BI of a reference sample of normal sera), the subject's autoantibody titers were, on the whole, within the normal range. Our results point towards a higher expression of antiphospholipid antibodies during depression but a much lower incidence of positive patients than in classical autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993


  • autoimmunity
  • depression
  • psychoneuroimmunology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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