Objective: Major depression is associated with defective antioxidant defenses. Vitamin E is the major fat soluble antioxidant in the body. The aim of the present study is to examine serum vitamin E concentrations in major depressed patients versus normal volunteers.
Method: Serum vitamin E concentrations were measured in 26 healthy volunteers and 42 major depressed patients by means of HPLC. Since vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, and serum vitamin E concentrations are strongly related to these of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, we have adjusted the results for possible differences in these lipids. The numbers of peripheral blood leukocytes were measured.
Results: Patients with major depression had significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations than healthy controls. The area under the ROC (receiver operating characteristics) curve was 83%. There were significant and negative correlations between serum vitamin E and number of total leukocytes and neutrophils.
Conclusions: Major depression is accompanied by significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations, suggesting lower antioxidant defenses against lipid peroxidation. The results could, in part, explain previous findings, which suggest increased lipid peroxidation in major depression.