Objectives: A significant proportion of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not improve following treatment with first-line antidepressants and, currently, there are no objective indicators of predictors of antidepressant response. The aim of this study was to investigate pre-treatment peripheral gene expression differences between future remitters and non-responders to citalopram treatment and identify potential pharmacogenomic predictors of response.
Methods: We conducted a gene expression study using Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus2 microarrays in peripheral blood samples from untreated individuals with MDD (N = 77), ascertained at a community outpatient clinic, prior to an 8-week treatment with citalopram. Gene expression differences were assessed between remitters and non-responders to treatment. Technical validation of significant probesets was carried out by qRT-PCR.
Results: A total of 434 probesets displayed significant correlation to change in score and 33 probesests were differentially expressed between eventual remitters and non-responders. Probesets for SMAD 7 (SMA- and MAD-related protein 7) and SIGLECP3 (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin, pseudogene 3) were the most significant differentially expressed genes following FDR correction, and both were down-regulated in individuals who responded to treatment.
Conclusions: These findings point to SMAD7 and SIGLECP3 as candidate predictive biomarkers of antidepressant response.