Premature Cellular Aging Linked To Major Depressive Disorder, Study Suggests

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Mental Health News: Cells from people with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) have higher than expected rates of methylation at specific sites on their DNA – indicating accelerated cellular aging with early mortality – when compared to cells from healthy individuals without MDD.

The new study published in Translational Psychiatry, tested blood samples from 49 individuals with MDD who were unmedicated prior to the study and 60 healthy control subjects of the same chronological age. They analyzed the methylation rates and patterns of both groups using the GrimAge clock – a mathematical algorithm designed to predict an individual’s remaining lifespan based on cellular methylation patterns.

People with MDD showed a significantly higher GrimAge score, which means depressed individuals experience accelerated cellular aging and have increased mortality risk, compared to healthy individuals of the same chronological age. According to researchers, DNA markers in cells of MDD sufferers appear 2 years older than in healthy controls. In short, those in depression had accelerated cellular aging by an average of two years compared to healthy controls.

There is a need for further research to determine if pharmacological treatments can reverse some methylation changes related to MDD and normalize the cellular aging process in affected patients before it advances.

To Know More, You May Refer To:

Protsenko, E., Yang, R., Nier, B. et al. “GrimAge,” an epigenetic predictor of mortality, is accelerated in major depressive disorder. Transl Psychiatry 11, 193 (2021).

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