Assessment of alcohol consumption in depression follow-up using self-reports and blood measures including inflammatory biomarkers

Alcohol Alcohol. 2019 May 1;54(3):243-250. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agz002.


Aims: Alcohol consumption has been suggested a major role in the pathogenesis and prognosis of depression. However, reliable identification of hazardous drinking continues to be problematic. We compared the accuracy of different biomarkers and self-reports of alcohol consumption in the follow-up study of depression.

Methods: Data from 202 patients with major depressive disorder were obtained through self-reports, AUDIT and AUDIT-C questionnaires and biomarker analyses. The clinical assessments and measurements of biomarkers (GT, CDT, GT-CDT-combination, MCV, ALT, AST, hs-CRP, IL-6) were performed at baseline and after six months of treatment. Based on self-reported alcohol intake at baseline the patients were classified to three subgroups.

Results: About 27.2% of patients were categorized to high-risk drinkers, 26.3% low-risk drinkers and 46.5% abstainers. High-risk drinkers showed significantly higher mean values of GT, CDT, GT-CDT-combination and IL-6 than abstainers, diagnostic accuracy being highest with the combined marker of GT-CDT. The accuracy of AUDIT and AUDIT-C to detect high-risk drinking was also significant. During follow-up, the differences observed in the biomarkers at baseline disappeared together with recovery from depression.

Conclusions: Our data suggest the combined use of GT-CDT and AUDIT questionnaires to improve the identification of drinking of patients with depression. This approach could be useful for improving treatment adherence and outcome in depressed patients.

Keywords: CDT; GT; alcohol; depression; interleukin; liver.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / blood
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • LIM Domain Proteins / blood
  • Male
  • Self Report*
  • Transferrin / analogs & derivatives
  • Transferrin / analysis
  • Transferrin / metabolism
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • CRIP1 protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-6
  • LIM Domain Proteins
  • Transferrin
  • carbohydrate-deficient transferrin
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase