Epigenetic biomarkers of major depression

[Speaker] Morinobu, Shigeru:1
1:Kochi Medical School (Japan)

Gene and environmental interaction plays an important role in the pathophysiology of major depression. Recently, it is revealed that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, regulate gene expression. In addition, an early adversity, a major risk factor of depression, also affects gene expression in the brain mediated by DNA methylation. In this context, it is plausible that changes in DNA methylation of genes in response to stress may be involved in the pathophysiology of depression. Based on this hypothesis, we examined whether the DNA methylation profiles of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and SLC6A4 (serotonin transporter) gene are biomarkers of depression, using peripheral blood DNA. We measured the methylation levels of cytosine by MassARRAY system (SEQUENOM). The methylation profiles at the promoter of the BDNF, but nor SLC6A4, gene distinguished unmedicated patients with depression from healthy subjects. The possibility of epigenetic biomarkers will be discussed in this presentation.
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