Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 582380, 12 pages
Research Article

Leukocyte Gene Expression in Patients with Medication Refractory Depression before and after Treatment with ECT or Isoflurane Anesthesia: A Pilot Study

1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
2Neuroscience Program, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
3Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
4Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Received 29 January 2014; Accepted 22 March 2014; Published 13 April 2014

Academic Editor: Michael Berk

Copyright © 2014 E. Iacob et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate leukocyte gene expression for 9 selected genes (mRNAs) as biological markers in patients with medication refractory depression before and after treatment with ECT or isoflurane anesthesia (ISO). Methods. In a substudy of a nonrandomized open-label trial comparing effects of ECT to ISO therapy, blood samples were obtained before and after treatment from 22 patients with refractory depression, and leukocyte mRNA was assessed by quantitative PCR. Patients’ mRNAs were also compared to 17 healthy controls. Results. Relative to controls, patients before treatment showed significantly higher IL10 and DBI and lower ADRA2A and ASIC3 mRNA ( ). Both ECT and ISO induced significant decreases after treatment in 4 genes: IL10, NR3C1, DRD4, and Sult1A1. After treatment, patients’ DBI, ASIC3, and ADRA2A mRNA remained dysregulated. Conclusion. Significant differences from controls and/or significant changes after ECT or ISO treatment were observed for 7 of the 9 mRNAs studied. Decreased expression of 4 genes after effective treatment with either ECT or ISO suggests possible overlap of underlying mechanisms. Three genes showing dysregulation before and after treatment may be trait-like biomarkers of medication refractory depression. Gene expression for these patients has the potential to facilitate diagnosis, clarify pathophysiology, and identify potential biomarkers for treatment effects.