Vienna University, Austria
Statement of the Problem: So far, studies on the association of serum lipid levels and depressive disorder are contradictory. Therefore, the objective of the this study was to investigate possible associations between serum lipid alterations in a large sample of well-characterized patients including men and women over a broad age range sub-grouped by the presence or absence of major depression.
Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: A total of 246 participants aged between 18-70 years were recruited of whom 94 suffered from major depressive without any other psychiatric comorbidity. A total of 152 individuals with neither a depressive symptomatology nor a former history of psychiatric disorder served as healthy controls. All study participants filled out the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) questionnaire and were investigated for their complete lipid status (i.e., triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL/HDL-cholesterol).
Findings: 94 patients with major depression showed significantly higher median (interquartile range) serum triglyceride levels (108.0 [75.8-154.1] vs. 84.0 [63.0-132.2] mg/dL, p=0.014) and significantly lower HDL-cholesterol levels (55.0 [46.9-123.0] vs. 61.5 [47.4-72.6] mg/dL, p=0.049) compared to 152 individuals without depression. Significant positive correlation was found between triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations and the BDI-II score (p=0.027, 0.048 and 0.018).
Conclusion & Significance: Depressive individuals were found with adverse serum lipid patterns of higher triglycerides and lower HDL-cholesterol levels compared to healthy controls. On this basis, the authors would suggest the implementation of routine serum lipid measurements in order to stratify these patients by their cardiovascular risk.