<p>Background: The macrophage theory of depression states that macrophages play an important role in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Methods: MDD patients (N = 140) and healthy controls (N = 120) participated in a cross-sectional study investigating the expression of apoptosis/growth and lipid/cholesterol pathway genes (BAX, BCL10, EGR1, EGR2, HB-EGF, NR1H3, ABCA1, ABCG1, MVK, CD163, HMOX1) in monocytes (macrophage/microglia precursors). Gene expressions were correlated to a set of previously determined and reported inflammation-regulating genes and analyzed with respect to various clinical parameters. Results: MDD monocytes showed an overexpression of the apoptosis/growth/cholesterol and the TNF genes forming an inter-correlating gene cluster (cluster 3) separate from the previously described inflammation-related gene clusters (containing IL1 and IL6). While upregulation of monocyte gene cluster 3 was a hallmark of monocytes of all MDD patients, upregulation of the inflammation-related clusters was confirmed to be found only in the monocytes of patients with childhood adversity. The latter group also showed a downregulation of the cholesterol metabolism gene MVK, which is known to play an important role in trained immunity and proneness to inflammation. Conclusions: The upregulation of cluster 3 genes in monocytes of all MDD patients suggests a premature aging of the cells, i.e. mitochondrial apoptotic dysfunction and TNF “inflammaging”, as a general feature of MDD. The overexpression of the IL-1/IL-6 containing inflammation clusters and the downregulation of MVK in monocytes of patients with childhood adversity indicates a shift in this condition to a more severe inflammation form (pyroptosis) of the cells, additional to the signs of premature aging and inflammaging.</p>

doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110391, hdl.handle.net/1765/135854
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Maria S. Simon, Carmen Schiweck, Gara Arteaga-Henríquez, Sara Poletti, Bartholomeus C.M. Haarman, W.A. (Wim) Dik, … H.A. (Hemmo) Drexhage. (2021). Monocyte mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammaging, and inflammatory pyroptosis in major depression. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 111. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110391