Genomic predictors of remission to antidepressant treatment in geriatric depression using genome-wide expression analyses: A pilot study

Harris A. Eyre, Ascia Eskin, Stanley F. Nelson, Natalie M. St Cyr, Prabha Siddarth, Bernhard T. Baune, Helen Lavretsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective This first pilot study of genome-wide expression as predictor of antidepressant response in late-life depression examined genome-wide transcriptional profiles in a randomized placebo-controlled trial of combined methylphenidate and citalopram. Methods Genome-wide transcriptional profiles were examined in peripheral blood leukocytes sampled at baseline and 16 weeks from 35 older adults with major depression, who were randomized to methylphenidate + citalopram, citalopram + placebo, or methylphenidate + placebo. Methylphenidate doses ranged between 10 and 40 mg/day, and citalopram doses ranged between 20 and 60 mg/day. Remission was defined as Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score of 6 or below. Early remission was achieved in the first 4 weeks of treatment. We hypothesized that differential gene expression at baseline can predict antidepressant response. Results We analyzed gene expression in 24 remitters and 11 non-remitters. At baseline, we found three genes showing higher expression in all remitters versus non-remitters that satisfied the established level of significance: a fold change of 2 and p-value of 0.05 that included HLA-DRB5, SELENBP1, and LOC388588. Two gene transcripts showed higher expression in early remitters at baseline compared with non-remitters. The first gene was CA1 carbonic anhydrase gene, on chromosome 8 involved in respiratory function (fold change 2.54; p = 0.03). The second gene was the SNCA-α-synuclein gene, implicated, which binds to dopamine transporter (fold change 2.1; p = 0.03). Conclusions Remission to antidepressants in geriatric depression may be associated with a particular gene expression profile in monoaminergic and metabolic pathways and needs to be replicated in a larger sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-517
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • antidepressant response
  • citalopram
  • gene expression
  • geriatric depression
  • methylphenidate
  • remission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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