Plasma neurofilament light chain in association to late-life depression in the general population

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Abstract

Aim:

Investigating what is underlying late-life depression is becoming increasingly important with the rapidly growing elderly population. Yet, the associations between plasma biomarkers of neuroaxonal damage and late-life depression remain largely unclear. Therefore, we determined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of neurofilament light chain (NfL) with depression in middle-aged and elderly individuals, and total tau, β-amyloid 40 and 42 for comparison. 

Methods:

We included 3,895 participants (71.78 years [SD = 7.37], 53.4% women) from the population-based Rotterdam Study. Between 2002 and 2005, NfL, total tau, β-amyloid 40 and β-amyloid 42 were determined in blood and depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D). Incident depressive events (clinically relevant depressive symptoms, depressive syndromes, major depressive disorders) were measured prospectively with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression, a clinical interview and follow-up of medical records over a median follow-up of 7.0 years (interquartile range 1.80). We used linear and Cox proportional hazard regression models. 

Results: 

Each log2 pg./mL increase in NfL was cross-sectionally associated with more depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference: 0.32, 95% CI 0.05–0.58), as well as with an increased risk of any incident depressive event over time (hazard ratio: 1.22, 95% CI 1.01–1.47). Further, more amyloid-β 40 was cross-sectionally associated with more depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference: 0.70, 95% CI 0.15–1.25). 

Conclusion: 

Higher levels of NfL are cross-sectionally associated with more depressive symptoms and a higher risk of incident depressive events longitudinally. The association was stronger for NfL compared to other plasma biomarkers, suggesting a potential role of neuroaxonal damage in developing late-life depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Volume78
Issue number2
Early online date16 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology.

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