Feasibility of investigating differential proteomic expression in depression: Implications for biomarker development in mood disorders

M. A. Frye*, M. Nassan, G. D. Jenkins, S. Kung, M. Veldic, B. A. Palmer, S. E. Feeder, S. J. Tye, D. S. Choi, J. M. Biernacka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine whether proteomic profiling in serum samples can be utilized in identifying and differentiating mood disorders. A consecutive sample of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of unipolar (UP n=52) or bipolar depression (BP-I n=46, BP-II n=49) and controls (n=141) were recruited. A 7.5-ml blood sample was drawn for proteomic multiplex profiling of 320 proteins utilizing the Myriad RBM Discovery Multi-Analyte Profiling platform. After correcting for multiple testing and adjusting for covariates, growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), hemopexin (HPX), hepsin (HPN), matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP-4) and transthyretin (TTR) all showed statistically significant differences among groups. In a series of three post hoc analyses correcting for multiple testing, MMP-7 was significantly different in mood disorder (BP-I+BP-II+UP) vs controls, MMP-7, GDF-15, HPN were significantly different in bipolar cases (BP-I+BP-II) vs controls, and GDF-15, HPX, HPN, RBP-4 and TTR proteins were all significantly different in BP-I vs controls. Good diagnostic accuracy (ROC-AUC≥0.8) was obtained most notably for GDF-15, RBP-4 and TTR when comparing BP-I vs controls. While based on a small sample not adjusted for medication state, this discovery sample with a conservative method of correction suggests feasibility in using proteomic panels to assist in identifying and distinguishing mood disorders, in particular bipolar I disorder. Replication studies for confirmation, consideration of state vs trait serial assays to delineate proteomic expression of bipolar depression vs previous mania, and utility studies to assess proteomic expression profiling as an advanced decision making tool or companion diagnostic are encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere687
JournalTranslational psychiatry
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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