Levels of an Inflammatory Marker Linked to Depression

There is mounting evidence that systemic inflammation is involved in depression and now a recent article in JAMA Psychiatry supports this hypothesis. Danish researchers looked at data from two broad population studies with a total of more than 73,000 individuals and found that elevated levels of CRP were commonly found in depressed patients. While the direction of the link between inflammation and depression is not known, inflammatory biomarkers may prove to be targets of intervention or diagnosis for depression.

A Biomarker for Patient Stratification in a Clinically Depressed Population

Clinical depression can be a difficult disease to treat since there is no perfect way to select which antidepressant will be best for the patient. Often times psychiatrists will have to go through one drug and then another until an individual responds and that may take many months. Several studies in the past few years have discovered blood-based biomarkers of depression giving hope that better diagnosis and treatments for depressed patients can be attained. Now a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry has uncovered an inflammatory protein, C-Reactive protein, which when elevated in the blood indicated that study participants would respond to treatment. While the drug being investigated (Infliximab) did not initially appear to work, a review of the data demonstrated that 62% of the patients with elevated CRP responded compared to 33% with low levels of the marker.

Blood-based Biomarker for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Discovered

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Tufts School of Medicine have identified an inflammatory response that is associated with ALS. Using a mouse-model of the disease based on a mutation in the SOD1 protein, scientists discovered an activation of inflammatory monocytes that invaded the spinal cord. This response was associated with neuronal death as the number of microglia decreased during disease progression. Humans suffering from ALS had a similar inflammatory signature, validating the animal model and implicating this immune response in the disease. The research provides hope that modulation of this inflammatory response may be a therapeutic target to prevent ALS progression.

Preliminary Study Identifies Biomarker Candidates of Liver Fibrosis in Hepatitis C Patients

Hepatitis C infects more than 170 million individuals worldwide and although spontaneous viral clearance occurs in a fraction of that population, the majority of cases progress to chronic infection which may eventually lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. To determine whether fibrosis is present, the current standard involves a liver biopsy which is invasive and painful. Noninvasive biomarker tests exist but have had difficulties detecting the early stages of fibrosis. Biomedical researchers at Oxford have now identified 20 novel fibrosis biomarker candidates that may help identify the disease before severe fibrosis occurs.

Cytokine Signature Describes Response to Aggregated Biotherapeutics

In this paper, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers used Myriad RBM’s services to discover a cytokine signature that was indicative of the in vitro PBMC response to aggregated biotherapeutics. These aggregates initiate immune system activation through specific cell surface receptors and a downstream T-cell response. Identifying a protein signature that describes a biotherapeutic immune response has great potential for helping determine the immunogenicity risk of these compounds.

Combination of Clinical and Protein Biomarkers Improves Prediction for COPD Mortality

Physicians using a panel of inflammatory biomarkers in conjunction with the standard clinical measurements for COPD such as forced 1-second expiratory volume (FEV) and body-mass index were able to better predict the mortality risk for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interleukin-6 on its own added the most significant improvement to the model but the prediction further improved when all the inflammatory markers in the study were considered. View Article &raqou;
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