The Food-Specific Serum IgG Reactivity in Major Depressive Disorder Patients, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients and Healthy Controls

Nutrients. 2018 Apr 28;10(5):548. doi: 10.3390/nu10050548.


There is an increasing amount of evidence which links the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with food IgG hyperreactivity. Some authors have suggested that food IgG hyperreactivity could be also involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to compare levels of serum IgG against 39 selected food antigens between three groups of participants: patients with MDD (MDD group), patients with IBS (IBS group) and healthy controls (HC group). The study included 65 participants (22 in the MDD group, 22 in the IBS group and 21 in the HC group). Serum IgG levels were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Medical records, clinical data and laboratory results were collected for the analysis. IgG food hyperreactivity (interpreted as an average of levels of IgG antibodies above 7.5 µg/mL) was detected in 28 (43%) participants, including 14 (64%) from the MDD group, ten (46%) from the IBS group and four (19%) from the HC group. We found differences between extreme IgG levels in MDD versus HC groups and in IBS versus HC groups. Patients with MDD had significantly higher serum levels of total IgG antibodies and IgG against celery, garlic and gluten compared with healthy controls. The MDD group also had higher serum IgG levels against gluten compared with the IBS group. Our results suggest dissimilarity in immune responses against food proteins between the examined groups, with the highest immunoreactivity in the MDD group. Further studies are needed to repeat and confirm these results in bigger cohorts and also examine clinical utility of IgG-based elimination diet in patients with MDD and IBS.

Keywords: food allergy; food antigen; food hypersensitivity; gut-brain axis; immunoglobulin G antibody; intestinal permeability; irritable bowel syndrome; low-grade inflammation; major depressive disorder.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens / adverse effects*
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / immunology
  • Female
  • Food / adverse effects*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / blood*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G