Serum Folate, Vitamin B12, and Homocysteine in Major Depressive Disorder, Part 1

Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.5). 08/2004; 65(8):1090-5. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.v65n0810
Source: PubMed


In the present study, we assessed the relationship between serum folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine levels and clinical response in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who had previously failed to respond to open treatment with fluoxetine 20 mg/day and were enrolled in a 4-week, double-blind trial of either (1) fluoxetine dose increase, (2) lithium augmentation of fluoxetine, or (3) desipramine augmentation of fluoxetine.
Fifty-five outpatients (mean +/- SD age = 41.7 +/- 10.6 years; 50.9% women) with MDD as assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R who were enrolled in the double-blind trial had serum folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine measurements completed at baseline (prior to fluoxetine treatment initiation). Folate levels were classified as either low (< or = 2.5 ng/mL) or normal. Vitamin B12 levels were classified as either low (< or = 200 pg/mL) or normal. Homocysteine levels were classified as either elevated (> or = 13.2 micromol/L) or normal. With the use of a logistic regression, we then assessed the relationship between (1) low or normal folate levels, (2) normal or low B12 levels, and (3) elevated or normal homocysteine levels and clinical response to double-blind treatment. The study was conducted from November 1992 to January 1999.
Low serum folate levels (chi2=3.626, p =.04), but not elevated homocysteine (p >.05) or low vitamin B12 levels (p >.05), were associated with poorer response to treatment. The response rates for patients with (N = 14) and without (N = 38) low folate levels were 7.1% versus 44.7%, respectively.
Low serum folate levels were found to be associated with further treatment resistance among patients with fluoxetine-resistant MDD.

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    • "Randomized trials have shown that folate and other nutritional supplementations have a significant effect in treating the treatment-resistant depression [19,20]. Folate deficiency has also been linked with the delay in treatment response as well as relapse [21,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent literature has identified links between vitamin B12 deficiency and depression.We compared the clinical response of SSRI-monotherapy with that of B12-augmentation in a sample of depressed patients with low normal B12 levels who responded inadequately to the first trial with the SSRIs. Patients with depression and low normal B12 levels were randomized to a control arm (antidepressant only) or treatment arm (antidepressants and injectable vitamin B12 supplementation). A total of 199 depressed patients were screened. Out of 73 patients with low normal B12 levels 34 (47%) were randomized to the treatment group while 39 (53%) were randomized to the control arm. At three months follow up 100% of the treatment group showed at least a 20% reduction in HAM-D score, while only 69% in the control arm showed at least a 20% reduction in HAM-D score (p<0.001). The findings remained significant after adjusting for baseline HAM-D score (p=0.001). Vitamin B12 supplementation with antidepressants significantly improved depressive symptoms in our cohort.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · The Open Neurology Journal
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    • "The therapeutic response of Alzheimer's disease to cholinesterase inhibitors is improved by folic acid supplementation (8, 22). Patients with Fluoxetine-resistant major depression disease (MDD) were found to have low serum level of folate (23). Foltein`s minimental test has shown 45% of the elderly with low cobalamin levels have mental disorders (24). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective(s): Incidence of neurocognitive and psychological disorders may be related to serum homocystein (Hcy), cobalamin (vitamin B12) and folate levels in old people. The aim of this study was to assess the relation between Hcy, cobalamin, folate and neurocognitive and/or psychological disorders in the elderly. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 280 subjects with ≥ 65 years old ,were evaluated. The subjects were selected from 12 regions of Mashhad, Iran, over March to October 2009. After blood sampling, data were collected by questionnaire, face to face interview and performing neurocognitive and psychological tests. The sera of 250 persons were analyzed for cobalamin and folate by RIA method. Amongst the aforementioned samples, 78 cases with cobalamin <300 pg/ml and folate <6.5 ng/ml were analyzed for Hcy by ELISA method. Results: Amongst the people, 126 (45%) were male and 154 (55%) were female. The prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) was 59.5% and 37.1% in male and female respectively (P -value =0.049). Hcy inversely correlated to cobalamin (r=-0.282, P=0.014) and to folate (r=-0.203, P=0.014). Hcy, cobalamin and folate correlations to neurocognitive and psychological impairments were not statically significant. Conclusion: Hyper Hcy or low cobalamin and folate in the elderly, are prevalent but their relationships with neurocognitive and psychological impairments is controversial. If these relationships had been confirmed, performing a single serum Hcy or cobalamin test would have been enough enough to diagnose and prevent neurocognitive impairments and inversely, neurocognitive-psychological sign and symptoms could have meant probable tissue vitamin deficiencies. However methods of assessing neurocognitive and psychological markers with validity and reliability of clinical and laboratory tests for finding aforementioned relationships should be revised.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science
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    • "Notably, mutational damage of mtDNA, which has been implicated in neurodegenerative disease and aging (Tanhauser and Laipis, 1995), decreases with folate supplementation (Branda et al., 2002). Clinical studies have suggested a role for folate and homocysteine in the pathogenesis of affective disorders (Reynolds et al., 1970; Reynolds, 2002; Papakostas et al., 2004a,b). There is also increasing evidence for a beneficial effect of folate in protecting against Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline with age (Seshadri et al., 2002; Nurk et al., 2005; Durga et al., 2007; Luchsinger et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Folate deficiency and resultant increased homocysteine levels have been linked experimentally and epidemiologically with neurodegenerative conditions like stroke and dementia. Moreover, folate deficiency has been implicated in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, most notably depression. We hypothesized that the pathogenic mechanisms include uracil misincorporation and, therefore, analyzed the effects of folate deficiency in mice lacking uracil DNA glycosylase (Ung-/-) versus wild-type controls. Folate depletion increased nuclear mutation rates in Ung-/- embryonic fibroblasts, and conferred death of cultured Ung-/- hippocampal neurons. Feeding animals a folate-deficient diet (FD) for 3 months induced degeneration of CA3 pyramidal neurons in Ung-/- but not Ung+/+ mice along with decreased hippocampal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein and decreased brain levels of antioxidant glutathione. Furthermore, FD induced cognitive deficits and mood alterations such as anxious and despair-like behaviors that were aggravated in Ung-/- mice. Independent of Ung genotype, FD increased plasma homocysteine levels, altered brain monoamine metabolism, and inhibited adult hippocampal neurogenesis. These results indicate that impaired uracil repair is involved in neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatric dysfunction induced by experimental folate deficiency.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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