n African Journal of Psychiatry - Elevated plasma homocysteine in association with decreased vitamin B, folate, serotonin, lipids and lipoproteins in depressed patients : original article




Increased plasma homocysteine, decreased vitamin B and folic acid levels have been implicated in depressive mood. Plasma homocystine, vitamin B, folic acid tryptophan, lipids and lipoproteins were determined in depressed patients and controls.

Sixty subjects consisting of 30 depressed patients and 30 apparently healthy volunteers, who served as controls, were selected for this study. Anthropometric indices and biochemical parameters were determined using standard procedures.
The results showed a significantly higher plasma homocysteine level amongst depressed patients when compared with the corresponding controls (p<0.001), the percentage increase was 116%, while the plasma vitamin B (p<0.01), total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (p<0.001) were markedly lower when amongst depressed patients when compared with the corresponding controls; the percentage differences were 21%, 42% and 42% respectively. Plasma triglyceride, folic acid and tryptophan levels amongst depressed patients were not significantly different from the controls. The male subjects had significantly higher plasma tHcy levels than the female counterparts (p<0.001).
This study showed a significant increase in plasma tHcy coexisting with a decrease in plasma vitamin B TC, LDLC and HDLC, in depressed patients. Increased plasma homocysteine could be a sensitive indicator of plasma B vitamin deficiency.


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