Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with adverse medical consequences, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Patients with MDD may be classified as having melancholic, atypical, or undifferentiated features. The goal of the present study was to assess whether these clinical subtypes of depression have different endocrine and metabolic features and consequently, varying medical outcomes.
Methods: Premenopausal women, ages 21 to 45 years, with MDD (N = 89) and healthy controls (N = 44) were recruited for a prospective study of bone turnover. Women with MDD were classified as having melancholic (N = 51), atypical (N = 16), or undifferentiated (N = 22) features. Outcome measures included: metabolic parameters, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), and 24 hourly sampling of plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, and leptin.
Results: Compared with control subjects, women with undifferentiated and atypical features of MDD exhibited greater BMI, waist/hip ratio, and whole body and abdominal fat mass. Women with undifferentiated MDD characteristics also had higher lipid and fasting glucose levels in addition to a greater prevalence of low BMD at the femoral neck compared to controls. Elevated ACTH levels were demonstrated in women with atypical features of depression, whereas higher mean 24-hour leptin levels were observed in the melancholic subgroup.
Conclusions: Pre-menopausal women with various features of MDD exhibit metabolic, endocrine, and BMD features that may be associated with different health consequences.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00006180.