Background: Depressive disorder (DD), including recurrent DD (rDD), is a severe psychological disease, which affects a large percentage of the world population. Although pathogenesis of the disease is not known, a growing body of evidence shows that inflammation together with oxidative stress may contribute to development of DD. Since reactive oxygen species produced during stress may damage DNA, we wanted to evaluate the extent of DNA damage and efficiency of DNA repair in patients with depression.
Material and methods: We measured and compared the extent of endogenous DNA damage--single- and double-strand breaks, alkali-labile sites, and oxidative damage of the pyrimidines and purines--in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from rDD patients (n=40) and healthy controls (n=46) using comet assay. We also measured DNA damage evoked by hydrogen peroxide and monitored changes in DNA damage during repair incubation.
Results: We found an increased number DNA breaks, alkali-labile sites, and oxidative modification of DNA bases in the patients compared to the controls. Exposure to hydrogen peroxide evoked the same increased damage in both groups. Examination of the repair kinetics of both groups revealed that the lesions were more efficiently repaired in the controls than in the patients.
Conclusions: For the first time we showed that patients with depression, compared with non-depresses individuals, had more DNA breaks, alkali-labile sites, and oxidative DNA damage, and that those lesions may be accumulated by impairments of the DNA repair systems. More studies must be conducted to elucidate the role of DNA damage and repair in depression.