Association of Serum Homocysteine With Major Depressive Disorder: Results From a Large Population-Based Study

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Oct;38(10):2309-18. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.04.018. Epub 2013 May 23.


Background: Studies on the association between homocysteine levels and depression have shown conflicting results. To examine the association between serum total homocysteine (tHcy) levels and major depressive disorder (MDD) in a large community sample with an extended age range.

Methods: A total of 3392 men and women aged 35-66 years participating in the CoLaus study and its psychiatric arm (PsyCoLaus) were included in the analyses. High tHcy measured from fasting blood samples was defined as a concentration ≥15μmol/L. MDD was assessed using the semi-structured Diagnostic Interview for Genetics Studies.

Results: In multivariate analyses, elevated tHcy levels were associated with greater odds of meeting the diagnostic criteria for lifetime MDD among men (OR=1.71; 95% CI, 1.18-2.50). This was particularly the case for remitted MDD. Among women, there was no significant association between tHcy levels and MDD and the association tended to be in the opposite direction (OR=0.61; 95% CI, 0.34-1.08).

Conclusions: In this large population-based study, elevated tHcy concentrations are associated with lifetime MDD and particularly with remitted MDD among men.

Keywords: Homocysteine; Major depressive disorder; Population-based study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Female
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / blood
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / complications
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Switzerland / epidemiology


  • Homocysteine