Leukocyte mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content is associated with depression in old women

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Sep-Oct 2011;53(2):e218-21. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2010.11.019. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content of peripheral blood leukocyte is related to depression in community-dwelling old women. A total of 142 community-dwelling women, older than 60 years, were included in the study. The mtDNA copy number, which represents the mtDNA content, was measured using real-time PCR methods. Patients with depression defined as the subjects whose 15-question geriatric depression scale (GDS) score was ≥ 8 or who were taking anti-depressant medication. We also measured cognitive function, physical performances (gait speed, chair-stand times, tandem standing times) and metabolic parameters. The depression group had a significantly lower mtDNA copy number than the control group (71.5 vs. 107.3; interquartile range (IQR) = 42.7-116.0 vs. 51.7-202.1; p = 0.028). The Korean version of the mini mental state examination (K-MMSE) score and physical performance score were significantly lower in the depression group than in the control group (p = 0.041, and p = 0.002, respectively). After adjustment for confounding factors using multiple logistic regression analysis, mtDNA copy number was significantly related to depression (p = 0.025). We demonstrated that low leukocyte mtDNA content is related to depression in community dwelling old women. This finding suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction could be a mechanism of geriatric depression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / blood*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / genetics*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Mitochondrial