Plasma metabonomics as a novel diagnostic approach for major depressive disorder

J Proteome Res. 2012 Mar 2;11(3):1741-8. doi: 10.1021/pr2010082. Epub 2012 Feb 1.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a socially detrimental psychiatric disorder, contributing to increased healthcare expenditures and suicide rates. However, no empirical laboratory-based tests are available to support the diagnosis of MDD. In this study, a NMR-based plasma metabonomic method for the diagnosis of MDD was tested. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H NMR) spectra of plasma sampled from first-episode drug-naı̈ve depressed patients (n = 58) and healthy controls (n = 42) were recorded and analyzed by orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). The OPLS-DA score plots of the spectra demonstrated that the depressed patient group was significantly distinguishable from the healthy control group. Moreover, the method accurately diagnosed blinded samples (n = 26) in an independent replication cohort with a sensitivity and specificity of 92.8% and 83.3%, respectively. Taken together, NMR-based plasma metabonomics may offer an accurate empirical laboratory-based method applicable to the diagnosis of MDD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / blood
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Creatine / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inositol / blood
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult


  • Acetates
  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Lipoproteins
  • Inositol
  • Creatinine
  • Creatine