Molecular network of neuronal autophagy in the pathophysiology and treatment of depression.
ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complicated multifactorial induced disease, characterized by depressed mood, anhedonia, fatigue, and altered cognitive function. Recently, many studies have shown that antidepressants regulate autophagy. In fact, autophagy, a conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, is essential for the central nervous system. Dysregulation of autophagic pathways, such as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway and the beclin pathway, has been studied in neurodegenerative diseases. However, autophagy in MDD has not been fully studied. Here, we discuss whether the dysregulation of autophagy contributes to the pathophysiology and treatment of MDD and summarize the current evidence that shows the involvement of autophagy in MDD.
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and severe disease characterized by mood changes, somatic alterations, and often suicide. MDD is treated with antidepressants, but the molecular mechanism of their action is unknown. We found that widely used antidepressants such as amitriptyline and fluoxetine induce autophagy in hippocampal neurons via the slow accumulation of sphingomyelin in lysosomes and Golgi membranes and of ceramide in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). ER ceramide stimulates phosphatase 2A and thereby the autophagy proteins Ulk, Beclin, Vps34/Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, p62, and Lc3B. Although treatment with amitriptyline or fluoxetine requires at least 12 days to achieve sphingomyelin accumulation and the subsequent biochemical and cellular changes, direct inhibition of sphingomyelin synthases with tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate (D609) results in rapid (within 3 days) accumulation of ceramide in the ER, activation of autophagy, and reversal of biochemical and behavioral signs of stress-induced MDD. Inhibition of Beclin blocks the antidepressive effects of amitriptyline and D609 and induces cellular and behavioral changes typical of MDD. These findings identify sphingolipid-controlled autophagy as an important target for antidepressive treatment methods and provide a rationale for the development of novel antidepressants that act within a few days.
Project description:Inflammation and altered glucose metabolism are two pathways implicated in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). We have previously shown that high inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein (CRP) in MDD patients is associated with symptoms of anhedonia, a core symptom of MDD, along with deficits in dopaminergic reward circuitry. Increased inflammation can shift metabolic demand and reprogram cellular energy sources, which may collectively impact the brain and reward processing to contribute to symptoms of anhedonia. To determine whether immunometabolic gene signatures were enriched in immune cells of depressed patients with increased inflammation and anhedonia, we examined whole-blood gene expression microarray (Illumina HumanHT-12) data from unmedicated, medically-stable patients with MDD (n = 93). Patients were considered to have increased inflammation based on High (>3mg/L) versus Low (≤3mg/L) plasma CRP, and further classified as having a self-reported phenotype of High (n = 30, 33rd percentile) versus Low (n = 32, 67th percentile) Anhedonia. Functional enrichment of gene pathways was assessed by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) using the KEGG pathway database. Pathways related to glucose metabolism (insulin signaling, insulin resistance, HIF-1, PI3K/AKT signaling), cancer (e.g., genes related to insulin and PI3K/AKT signaling), and inflammation (B cell, T cell and Fc receptor signaling) were specifically enriched in patients with both High CRP and High Anhedonia (all FDR q < 0.25). Within patients with High CRP in GSEA, the insulin signaling pathway was the top enriched pathway in patients with High versus Low Anhedonia (n = 10 and 9 respectively), which was driven by genes expressed predominantly in monocytes (z = 2.95, p < 0.01). Conversely, within patients with High Anhedonia, in addition to enrichment of immunometabolic pathways, the tyrosine metabolism pathway was also reduced in patients with High versus Low CRP (n = 20 and 10 respectively). Of note, enrichment of immunometabolic pathways was confirmed in complementary linear regression analyses examining pathways associated with a CRP-by-Anhedonia interaction term while controlling for clinical covariates in all patients (n = 93). These results indicate that increased glucose and low tyrosine metabolism define a subset of depressed patients with high inflammation and anhedonia. Enrichment of cancer-related pathways driven by metabolic genes also suggests a shift in immune cell metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis. Together these data suggest that anhedonia in MDD with high CRP involves both immunometabolic shifts and reduced dopamine precursor availability.
Project description:Abnormally low ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels have been consistently reported in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). Our group extended this finding to adolescents, and documented that GABA deficits were associated with anhedonia. Here we aimed to confirm our prior finding of decreased brain GABA in youth with depression and explore its associations with clinical variables. Forty-four psychotropic medication-free youth with MDD and 36 healthy control (HC) participants (12-21 years) were studied. Participants represent a combined sample of 39 newly recruited youth (MDD=24) and 41 youth from our previously reported study (MDD=20). GABA levels and the combined resonances of glutamate and glutamine (Glx) were measured in vivo in the anterior cingulate cortex using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Youth with depression exhibited significantly lower GABA levels than HC in both the newly reported (P=0.003) and the combined (P=0.003) samples. When depressed participants were classified based on the presence of anhedonia, only the anhedonic MDD subgroup showed reduced GABA levels compared to HC (P=0.002). While there were no associations between any clinical measures and GABA or Glx levels in the new sample, GABA was negatively correlated with only anhedonia severity in the combined MDD group. Furthermore, in the combined sample, hierarchical regression models showed that anhedonia, but not depression severity, anxiety or suicidality, contributed significant variance in GABA levels. This report solidifies the evidence for a GABA deficit early in the course of MDD, which correlates specifically with anhedonia in the disorder.
Project description:Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission within the brain's reward circuit has been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression and in both, cognitive and pharmacological mechanisms of treatment response. Still, a direct relationship between measures of DA neurotransmission and reward-related deficits in patients with depression has not been demonstrated. To gain insight into the symptom-specific alterations in the DA system in patients with depression, we used positron emission tomography (PET) and the D2/3 receptor-selective radiotracer [11C]raclopride in twenty-three non-smoking un-medicated Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) patients and sixteen healthy controls (HC). We investigated the relationship between D2/3 receptor availability and baseline measures of depression severity, anxiety, anhedonia, and cognitive and pharmacological mechanisms of treatment response. We found that, compared to controls, patients with depression showed greater D2/3 receptor availability in several striatal regions, including the bilateral ventral pallidum/nucleus accumbens (vPAL/NAc), and the right ventral caudate and putamen. In the depressed sample, D2/3 receptor availability in the caudal portion of the ventral striatum (NAc/vPAL) correlated with higher anxiety symptoms, whereas D2/3 receptor availability in the rostral area of the ventral striatum correlated negatively with the severity of motivational anhedonia. Finally, MDD non-remitters showed greater baseline anxiety, greater D2/3 availability in the NAc/vPAL, and greater placebo-induced DA release in the bilateral NAc. Our results demonstrate abnormally high D2/3 receptor availability in the ventral striatum of patients with MDD, which seem to be associated with comorbid anxiety symptoms and lack of response to antidepressants.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The cardinal features of MDD are depressed mood and anhedonia. Anhedonia is defined as a "markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities of the day", and has generally been investigated on group-level using retrospective data (e.g. via questionnaire/interview). However, inferences based on group-level findings not necessarily generalize to daily life experiences within individuals. METHODS:We repeatedly sampled pleasurable experiences within individuals' daily lives by means of Experience Sampling Methods, and compared how positive affect unfolded in the daily life of healthy controls versus patients diagnosed with MDD and anhedonia. We sampled Positive Affect (PA) and reward experiences on 10 semi-random time points a day, for seven days in the daily lives of 47 MDD patients with anhedonia, and 40 controls. RESULTS:Multilevel models showed that anhedonia was associated with low PA, but not to differences in PA dynamics, nor reward frequency in daily life. In reaction to rewards, MDD patients with anhedonia showed no difference in their increase in PA (i.e., PA reactivity), and showed no signs of a faster return to baseline thereafter (i.e., PA recovery). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that the dynamical signature of anhedonia in MDD can be described best as a lower average level of PA, and "normal" in terms of PA dynamics, daily reward reactivity and reward recovery. Preregistration: https://osf.io/gmfsc/register/565fb3678c5e4a66b5582f67 . Preprint: https://osf.io/cfkts.
Project description:A key feature of major depressive disorder (MDD) is anhedonia, which is a predictor of response to antidepressant treatment. In order to shed light on its genetic underpinnings, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) followed by investigation of biological pathway enrichment using an anhedonia dimension for 759 patients with MDD in the GENDEP study. The GWAS identified 18 SNPs associated at genome-wide significance with the top one being an intronic SNP (rs9392549) in PRPF4B (pre-mRNA processing factor 4B) located on chromosome 6 (P?=?2.07?×?10-9) while gene-set enrichment analysis returned one gene ontology term, axon cargo transport (GO: 0008088) with a nominally significant P value (1.15?×?10-5). Furthermore, our exploratory analysis yielded some interesting, albeit not statistically significant genetic correlation with Parkinson's Disease and nucleus accumbens gray matter. In addition, polygenic risk scores (PRSs) generated from our association analysis were found to be able to predict treatment efficacy of the antidepressants in this study. In conclusion, we found some markers significantly associated with anhedonia, and some suggestive findings of related pathways and biological functions, which could be further investigated in other studies.
Project description:Since the serendipitous discovery of the first class of modern antidepressants in the 1950's, all pharmacotherapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration for major depressive disorder (MDD) have shared a common mechanism of action, increased monoaminergic neurotransmission. Despite the widespread availability of antidepressants, as many as 50% of depressed patients are resistant to these conventional therapies. The significant length of time required to produce meaningful symptom relief with these medications, 4-6 weeks, indicates that other mechanisms are likely involved in the pathophysiology of depression which may yield more viable targets for drug development. For decades, no viable candidate target with a different mechanism of action to that of conventional therapies proved successful in clinical studies. Now several exciting avenues for drug development are under intense investigation. One of these emerging targets is modulation of endogenous opioid tone. This review will evaluate preclinical and clinical evidence pertaining to opioid dysregulation in depression, focusing on the role of the endogenous ligands endorphin, enkephalin, dynorphin, and nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) and their respective receptors, mu (MOR), delta (DOR), kappa (KOR), and the N/OFQ receptor (NOP) in mediating behaviors relevant to depression and anxiety. Finally, putative opioid based antidepressants that are under investigation in clinical trials, ALKS5461, JNJ-67953964 (formerly LY2456302 and CERC-501) and BTRX-246040 (formerly LY-2940094) will be discussed. This review will illustrate the potential therapeutic value of targeting opioid dysregulation in developing novel therapies for MDD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Elevated S100 calcium binding protein B (S100B) levels in systemic circulation may induce neuroinflammation and reflect greater blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction. Neuroinflammation in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), in turn, may reduce likelihood of improvement with serotonergic antidepressants. METHODS:Levels of S100B were measured in plasma samples obtained prior to initiation of treatment with bupropion-plus-escitalopram, escitalopram-plus-placebo, or venlafaxine-plus-mirtazapine in participants of Combining Medications to Enhance Depression Outcomes trial (n = 153). Depression severity was measured with 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report and anhedonia was measured with 3 items of 30-item Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology. Differential changes in depression severity and anhedonia over acute-phase (baseline, weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) in the three treatment arms were tested with logS100B-by-treatment-arm interaction in mixed model analyses after controlling for age, gender, and body mass index. RESULTS:There was a significant logS100B-by-treatment-arm interaction for anhedonia (F = 3.21; df = 2, 142; p = 0.04) but not for overall depression severity (F = 1.99; df = 2, 142; p = 0.14). Higher logS100B levels were associated with smaller reductions in anhedonia (effect size = 0.67, p = 0.047) in escitalopram monotherapy but not in the other two arms. Correlation coefficients of anhedonia severity averaged over acute-phase (including baseline) with baseline S100B levels were 0.57, -0.19, and 0.22 for escitalopram monotherapy, bupropion-plus-escitalopram and venlafaxine-plus-mirtazapine arms respectively. CONCLUSION:Higher baseline S100B levels in depressed patients resulted in poorer response to escitalopram monotherapy. Addition of bupropion, a dopaminergic antidepressant, partially mitigated this effect.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>There is a growing interest in the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in major depressive disorder (MDD). BDNF potentially exhibits opposite effects in the pathways linked to anhedonia and reward learning on the one hand and cognitive performance, on the other hand. However, the epigenetic mechanisms behind this remain unknown. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the interplay of DNA methylation of different BDNF exons and the common Val66Met polymorphism on anhedonia, reward learning and cognitive performance in MDD.<h4>Methods</h4>We recruited 80 depressed patients and 58 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Participants underwent clinical assessment including neuropsychological testing and a probabilistic reward task to assess reward learning. Val66Met polymorphism and DNA methylation of BDNF promoters I, IV and exon IX were assessed from whole blood derived DNA, using pyrosequencing.<h4>Results</h4>BDNF promoter I methylation was lower in MDD patients (p = 0.042) and was negatively associated with self-reported anhedonia. In depressed patients, both Val66Met polymorphism and DNA methylation of promoter I were significantly associated with reward bias (p < 0.050 and p = 0.040, respectively), without an interaction effect. On the other hand, methylation of exon IX had a negative impact on executive functioning (p = 0.002) and mediated the effect of Val66Met on this outcome in patients with MDD.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results provide the first evidence of Val66Met susceptibility to differential epigenetic regulation of BDNF exons in reward learning and executive functioning in MDD, which needs to be further explored.
Project description:Inflammation-related changes in the concentrations of kynurenine pathway metabolites occur in depression secondary to medical conditions but are not firmly established in primary mood disorders. Reductions in hippocampal and amygdalar volume that putatively reflect dendritic atrophy are widely reported in major depressive disorder (MDD). Here we tested whether the relative serum concentrations of putatively neuroprotective (kynurenic acid (KA)) and neurotoxic (3-hydroxykynurenine (3HK) and quinolinic acid (QA)) kynurenine pathway metabolites were altered in primary MDD and whether these metabolites were associated with hippocampal and amygdalar volume. A total of 29 moderately to severely depressed unmedicated subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for MDD and 20 healthy controls (HCs) completed a structural MRI scan and provided blood sample for kynurenine metabolite analysis, performed using high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Cytokine concentrations were measured with ELISA and gray matter volumes were measured with the automated segmentation software, FreeSurfer. An a priori defined variable of interest, the KA/QA ratio, a putative neuroprotective index, trended lower in the MDD versus the HC group and correlated negatively with anhedonia but positively with the total hippocampal and amygdala volume in the MDD subjects. The post hoc data reduction methods yielded three principal components. Component 1 (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, QA, and kynurenine) was significantly elevated in MDD participants versus the HCs, whereas component 2 (KA, tryptophan, and kynurenine) was positively correlated with hippocampal and amygdala volume within the MDD group. Our results raise the possibility that an immune-related imbalance in the relative metabolism of KA and QA predisposes to depression-associated dendritic atrophy and anhedonia.