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Altered Plasma Levels of Arginine Metabolites Tied to Depression

Key clinical point: Changes in levels of several arginine pathway metabolites were significantly correlated with major depressive disorder. This discovery might provide an opportunity for new drug development.

Major finding: Based on the Hamilton Rating Depression Scale, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventory and Perceived Stress Scale, and using high performance liquid chromatography, levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine and putrescine were significantly lower in patients with major depressive disorder. In addition, symmetric dimethylarginine, agmatine, and ornithine were significantly higher in major depressive disorder patients (P less than 0.05 for both). Lower levels of putrescine were significant predictors of a diagnosis of depression (P = 0.039) and depression severity (P = 0.003).

Study details: The data come from a study of 77 adults aged 21 to 65 years with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and 27 matched healthy controls.

Disclosures: The researchers disclosed no financial conflicts.


Ozden A et al. J Psychiatr Res. 2019. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.10.004.