Blood Transcriptomic Markers in Patients with Late-Onset Major Depressive Disorder

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 29;11(2):e0150262. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150262. eCollection 2016.


We investigated transcriptomic markers of late-onset major depressive disorder (LOD; onset age of first depressive episode ≥ 50 years) from the genes expressed in blood cells and identified state-dependent transcriptomic markers in these patients. We assessed the genes expressed in blood cells by microarray and found that the expression levels of 3,066 probes were state-dependently changed in the blood cells of patients with LOD. To select potential candidates from those probes, we assessed the genes expressed in the blood of an animal model of depression, ovariectomized female mice exposed to chronic ultra-mild stress, by microarray and cross-matched the differentially expressed genes between the patients and the model mice. We identified 14 differentially expressed genes that were similarly changed in both patients and the model mice. By assessing statistical significance using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), the following 4 genes were selected as candidates: cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector c (CIDEC), ribonuclease 1 (RNASE1), solute carrier family 36 member-1 (SLC36A1), and serine/threonine/tyrosine interacting-like 1 (STYXL1). The discriminating ability of these 4 candidate genes was evaluated in an independent cohort that was validated. Among them, CIDEC showed the greatest discriminant validity (sensitivity 91.3% and specificity 87.5%). Thus, these 4 biomarkers should be helpful for properly diagnosing LOD.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Transcriptome*


  • Genetic Markers

Grants and funding

This study is the result of “Integrated Research on Neuropsychiatric Disorders” carried out under the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (