Washington, May 30 : While not much has been known about major depressive disorder, researchers have now found that polymorphisms in two inflammation-related genes are responsible for susceptibility to major depression and antidepressant response.
Researchers at the University of Miami have found that two genes, PSMB4 (proteasome beta 4 subunit) and TBX21 (T-bet), which play a key role in T-cell function in the immune system, are also linked with susceptibility for major depressive disorder and antidepressant treatment response.
The study was conducted on 284 depressed Mexican-Americans from Los Angeles, who were already enrolled in a pharmacogenetic study of antidepressant treatment response. The control group was made up of 331 individuals from the same community.
"Our findings suggest that a simple blood test to look for these genes could help us identify people who are at risk for depression. We would know to watch these people in stressful situations, such as a soldier in combat, and intervene earlier to get them the help they need," said Ma-Li Wong, M.D., professor and vice chair for translational research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine and lead author of the study.
They even found that genetic variations in PSMB4 and TBX21 may also be relevant to two immune disorders, psoriasis and asthma, both of which are known to be co-morbid with major depressive disorder and are related to psychosocial stressors.
The research was published electronically in Molecular Psychiatry.