Transcriptomic and epigenomic biomarkers of antidepressant response

J Affect Disord. 2018 Jun;233:36-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.08.087. Epub 2017 Sep 8.


Background: Antidepressant treatment is associated with a high rate of poor response, and thus, biomarker development is warranted.

Methods: We aimed to synthesize studies investigating gene expression, small RNAs, and epigenomic biomarkers of antidepressant response. We conducted a narrative review of the literature.

Results: Firstly, we detailed the challenges involved, in terms of biological tissues, relevant study time frames, and mandatory statistical tools. Secondly we synthesized results obtained in gene expression studies, focusing mainly on genome-wide studies, particularly small non-coding RNA, including micro-RNA and other small RNA species. In addition, we reviewed the potential biomarkers of antidepressant response arising from studies investigating DNA methylation variation and histone modifications.

Limitations: We did not conduct a meta-analysis due to the heterogeneity of the study.

Conclusion: Although promising, the field of gene expression and epigenomic biomarkers of antidepressant response is still in its infancy, and needs further development to define useful biomarkers in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics*
  • Epigenomics*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Genetic Markers
  • MicroRNAs