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Searching for Genomic Biomarkers for Major Depressive Disorder in Peripheral Immune Cells

  • Ke Xu
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Ke Xu, M.D., Ph.D.
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

    Connecticut Veteran Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut
    Search for articles by this author
  • Bradley E. Aouizerat
    Affiliations
    Bluestone Center for Clinical Research, College of Dentistry, New York University, New York, New York

    Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Dentistry, New York University, New York, New York
    Search for articles by this author
      Challenges to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders have long been acknowledged in the field. In recent years, efforts have been made to identify genomic biomarkers for psychiatric disorders. A link between immune function and major depressive disorder (MDD) has been suggested for decades (
      • Raison C.L.
      • Capuron L.
      • Miller A.H.
      Cytokines sing the blues: Inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression.
      ), but the identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that underlie immune function as biomarkers for MDD has been more recent. Hundreds of DEGs have been reported for transcriptome-wide association studies (TWASs) of MDD. However, the majority of DEGs reported among individual studies do not overlap, making prioritization of candidate biomarkers challenging. Thus, integrating findings from multiple studies is critical to establish reliable DEGs as biomarkers for MDD. Leveraging publicly available datasets, Wittenberg et al. (
      • Wittenberg G.M.
      • Greene J.
      • Vértes P.E.
      • Drevets W.C.
      • Bullmore E.T.
      Major depressive disorder is associated with differential expression of innate immune and neutrophil-related gene networks in peripheral blood: A quantitative review of whole-genome transcriptional data from case-control studies.
      ) demonstrated that integration of gene expression data from multiple studies provides new insights on immune gene function and gene networks for MDD. The identified genes and networks could serve as biomarkers for MDD.
      SEE CORRESPONDING ARTICLE ON PAGE 625
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