Low HDL cholesterol associates with major depression in a sample with a 7-year history of depressive symptoms

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Aug 1;32(6):1557-61. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2008.05.021. Epub 2008 Jun 25.


Long-term depression may increase the risk for adverse coronary events. Low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) have in particular been suggested to underlie this connection. A total of 124 participants with a recorded seven-year history of depressive symptoms (depressed, n=63) or euthymic state (controls, n=61) underwent a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV to confirm their psychiatric diagnosis. Total cholesterol (TC), HDL-C and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, triglycerides, non-HDL-C and atherogenic indices (LDL-C/HDL-C and TC/HDL-C) were assessed. The HDL-C levels were lower and atherogenic indices higher in the depressed group compared with the controls. Furthermore, those with HDL-C level below the gender-adjusted median (<1.54 mmol/l in women, <1.16 mmol/l in men) were 2.4-fold more likely to be depressed in a model adjusting for age and non-HDL-C (p=0.019). After further adjustment for educational level, marital status, alcohol use, daily smoking and overweight this association remained significant (p=0.049). These findings suggest that compared with the healthy controls, those with long-term depression may have lower HDL-C values and higher atherogenic indices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides