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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common mood disorder, with a heritability of around 34%. Molecular genetic studies made significant progress and identified genetic markers associated with the risk of MDD; however, progress is slowed down by substantial heterogeneity as MDD is assessed differently across international cohorts. Here, we used a standardized online approach to measure MDD in multiple cohorts in the Netherlands and evaluated whether this approach can be used in epidemiological and genetic association studies of depression.
Within the Biobank Netherlands Internet Collaboration (BIONIC) project, we collected MDD data in eight cohorts involving 31 936 participants, using the online Lifetime Depression Assessment Self-report (LIDAS), and estimated the prevalence of current and lifetime MDD in 22 623 unrelated individuals. In a large Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) twin-family dataset (n ≈ 18 000), we estimated the heritability of MDD, and the prediction of MDD in a subset (n = 4782) through Polygenic Risk Score (PRS).
Estimates of current and lifetime MDD prevalence were 6.7% and 18.1%, respectively, in line with population estimates based on validated psychiatric interviews. In the NTR heritability estimates were 0.34/0.30 (s.e. = 0.02/0.02) for current/lifetime MDD, respectively, showing that the LIDAS gives similar heritability rates for MDD as reported in the literature. The PRS predicted risk of MDD (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.15–1.32, R2 = 1.47%).
By assessing MDD status in the Netherlands using the LIDAS instrument, we were able to confirm previously reported MDD prevalence and heritability estimates, which suggests that this instrument can be used in epidemiological and genetic association studies of depression.
Atherosclerotic changes can be measured as changes in common carotid intima media thickness (CIMT). It is hypothesised that repeated infection-associated inflammatory responses in childhood contribute to the atherosclerotic process. We set out to determine whether the frequency of infectious diseases in childhood is associated with CIMT in adolescence. The study is part of the Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) population-based birth cohort. At age 16 years, common CIMT was measured. We collected general practitioner (GP) diagnosed infections and prescribed antibiotics. Parent-reported infections were retrieved from annual questionnaires. Linear regression analysis assessed the association between number of infections during the first 4 years of life and common CIMT. Common CIMT measurement, GP and questionnaire data were available for 221 participants. No association was observed between the infection measures and CIMT. In a subgroup analysis, significant positive associations with CIMT were observed in participants with low parental education for 2–3 or ⩾7 GP diagnosed infections (+26.4 µm, 95% CI 0.4–52.4 and +26.8 µm, 95% CI 3.6–49.9, respectively) and ⩾3 antibiotic prescriptions (+35.5 µm, 95%CI 15.8–55.3). Overall, early childhood infections were not associated with common CIMT in adolescence. However, a higher number of childhood infections might contribute to the inflammatory process of atherosclerosis in subgroups with low education, this needs to be confirmed in future studies.
The SPICA mid- and far-infrared telescope will address fundamental issues in our understanding of star formation and ISM physics in galaxies. A particular hallmark of SPICA is the outstanding sensitivity enabled by the cold telescope, optimised detectors, and wide instantaneous bandwidth throughout the mid- and far-infrared. The spectroscopic, imaging, and polarimetric observations that SPICA will be able to collect will help in clarifying the complex physical mechanisms which underlie the baryon cycle of galaxies. In particular, (i) the access to a large suite of atomic and ionic fine-structure lines for large samples of galaxies will shed light on the origin of the observed spread in star-formation rates within and between galaxies, (ii) observations of HD rotational lines (out to ~10 Mpc) and fine structure lines such as [C ii] 158 μm (out to ~100 Mpc) will clarify the main reservoirs of interstellar matter in galaxies, including phases where CO does not emit, (iii) far-infrared spectroscopy of dust and ice features will address uncertainties in the mass and composition of dust in galaxies, and the contributions of supernovae to the interstellar dust budget will be quantified by photometry and monitoring of supernova remnants in nearby galaxies, (iv) observations of far-infrared cooling lines such as [O i] 63 μm from star-forming molecular clouds in our Galaxy will evaluate the importance of shocks to dissipate turbulent energy. The paper concludes with requirements for the telescope and instruments, and recommendations for the observing strategy.
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders and may be influenced by antidepressant use. This study investigated the association of oxidative stress, measured by plasma levels of F2-isoprostanes and 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) reflecting oxidative lipid and DNA damage respectively, with MDD, anxiety disorders and antidepressant use in a large cohort.
Data was derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety including patients with current (N = 1619) or remitted (N = 610) MDD and/or anxiety disorder(s) (of which N = 704 antidepressant users) and 612 controls. Diagnoses were established with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Plasma 8-OHdG and F2-isoprostanes were measured using LC-MS/MS. ANCOVA was performed adjusted for sampling, sociodemographic, health and lifestyle variables.
F2-isoprostanes did not differ between controls and patients, or by antidepressant use. Patients with current disorders had lower 8-OHdG (mean 42.1 pmol/l, 95% CI 40.4–43.8) compared to controls (45.0 pmol/l, 95% CI 42.9–47.2; p < 0.001) after adjustment for sampling, sociodemographics and lifestyle, but these differences disappeared after further adjustment for antidepressant use (p = 0.562). Antidepressant users had lower 8-OHdG levels (38.2 pmol/l, 95% CI 36.5–39.9) compared to controls (44.9 pmol/l, 95% CI 43.2–46.6; Cohen's d = 0.21, p < 0.001). Results for 8-OHdG were comparable across disorders (MDD and/or anxiety disorders), and all antidepressant types (SSRIs, TCAs, other antidepressants).
Contrary to previous findings this large-scale study found no increased oxidative stress in MDD and anxiety disorders. Antidepressant use was associated with lower oxidative DNA damage, suggesting antidepressants may have antioxidant effects.
There is a paucity of valid, brief instruments for the assessment of lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) that can be used in, for example, large-scale genomics, imaging or biomarker studies on depression. We developed the LIfetime Depression Assessment Self-report (LIDAS), which assesses lifetime MDD diagnosis according to DSM criteria, and is largely based on the widely used Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Here, we tested the feasibility and determined the sensitivity and specificity for measuring lifetime MDD with this new questionnaire, with a regular CIDI as reference.
Sensitivity and specificity analyses of the online lifetime MDD questionnaire were performed in adults with (n = 177) and without (n = 87) lifetime MDD according to regular index CIDIs, selected from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA) and Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). Feasibility was tested in an additional non-selective, population-based sample of NTR participants (n = 245).
Of the 753 invited persons, 509 (68%) completed the LIDAS, of which 419 (82%) did this online. User-friendliness of the instrument was rated high. Median completion time was 6.2 min. Sensitivity and specificity for lifetime MDD were 85% [95% confidence interval (CI) 80–91%] and 80% (95% CI 72–89%), respectively. This LIDAS instrument gave a lifetime MDD prevalence of 20.8% in the population-based sample.
Measuring lifetime MDD with an online instrument was feasible. Sensitivity and specificity were adequate. The instrument gave a prevalence of lifetime MDD in line with reported population prevalences. LIDAS is a promising tool for rapid determination of lifetime MDD status in large samples, such as needed for genomics studies.
It has been hypothesized that lowered antioxidant capacity, which leads to increased oxidative stress, may be involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders and might be altered by antidepressant treatment.
This study investigated the association of plasma uric acid, the greatest contributor to blood antioxidant capacity, with MDD, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia and antidepressants in a large cohort.
Data was derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety including patients with current (n = 1648) or remitted (n = 609) MDD and/or anxiety disorder(s) (of which n = 710 antidepressant users) and 618 controls. Diagnoses were established with the Composite Interview Diagnostic Instrument. Symptom severity was ascertained in all participants with the Inventory of Depressive Symptoms and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. ANCOVA and regression analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic, health and lifestyle variables.
Plasma uric acid was lower in those with current MDD and/or anxiety disorder(s) (adjusted mean 270 μmol/L) compared to those with remitted disorders (280 μmol/L, P < 0.001) or to controls (281 μmol/L, P < 0.001; Cohen's d 0.14). Within patients antidepressants were not associated with uric acid levels. Increasing symptom severity was associated with lower uric acid levels for both depression (β = –0.05, P = 0.001) and anxiety symptoms (β = –0.05, P = 0.004).
This large scale study finds that the antioxidant uric acid is lower in current, but not remitted, MDD or anxiety disorders and in persons with higher symptom severity, suggesting disturbances in redox homeostasis play a role in the pathophysiology of depression and anxiety disorders.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression and anxiety disorders and may be influenced by antidepressant use.
This study investigated the association of oxidative stress, measured by plasma levels of F2-isoprostanes and 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), reflecting oxidative lipid and DNA damage respectively, with major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia and antidepressant use in a large cohort.
Data was derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety including patients with current (n = 1641) or remitted (n = 610) MDD and/or anxiety disorder(s) (of which n = 709 antidepressant users) and 633 controls. Diagnoses were established with the Composite Interview Diagnostic Instrument. Plasma 8-OHdG and F2-isoprostanes were measured using UHPLC-MS/MS. ANCOVA was performed adjusting for sampling, sociodemographic, health and lifestyle variables.
F2-isoprostanes did not differ between controls and patients, or by antidepressant use. Patients (current or remitted) using antidepressants had lower 8-OHdG (adjusted mean 38.3 pmol/L) compared to patients (current or remitted) without antidepressants (44.7 pmol/L) and controls (44.9 pmol/L, P < 0.001; Cohen's d 0.26). Findings for 8-OHdG were similar over all disorders and all antidepressant types (SSRIs, TCAs, SNRIs; P < 0.001).
Contrary to previous findings this large-scale study did not find increased oxidative stress measured by F2-isoprostanes or 8-OHdG in MDD or anxiety disorders. 8-OHdG levels were lower in antidepressant users, which suggests antidepressants may have antioxidant properties.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Do DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depression (MD) in Chinese and Western women perform in a similar manner?
The CONVERGE study included interview-based assessments of women of Han Chinese descent with treated recurrent MD. Using Mplus software, we investigated the overall degree of between-sample measurement invariance (MI) for DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for MD in the CONVERGE sample and samples selected from four major Western studies from the USA and Europe matched to the inclusion criteria of CONVERGE. These analyses were performed one pair at a time. We then compared the results from CONVERGE paired with Western samples to those obtained when examining levels of MI between pairs of the Western samples.
Assuming a single factor model for the nine diagnostic criteria for MD, the level of MI based on global fit indexes observed between the CONVERGE and the four Western samples was very similar to that seen between the Western samples. Comparable results were obtained when using a two-factor structure for MI testing when applied to the 14 diagnostic criteria for MD disaggregated for weight, appetite, sleep, and psychomotor changes.
Despite differences in language, ethnicity and culture, DSM criteria for MD perform similarly in Chinese women with recurrent MD and comparable subjects from the USA and Europe. The DSM criteria for MD may assess depressive symptoms that are relatively insensitive to cultural and ethnic differences. These results support efforts to compare findings from depressed patients in China and Western countries.
To determine the prevalence of psychosocial problems among Dutch children aged 8–12 years and studying its association with risk factors and quality of life.
This study was conducted within the framework of a community-based health study in the north-west region of the Netherlands. The cross-sectional study sample consisted of 2703 children (1392 boys and 1311 girls). Psychosocial problems and quality of life were measured with the extended version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and KIDSCREEN-10, respectively. Questionnaires and data about risk factors (parental education level, ethnicity, family structure, income, chronic diseases and life events) were completed by the parents or caregivers.
The prevalence of psychosocial problems (SDQ score ≥14) in the total sample was 10.4%. The prevalence was higher in boys compared with girls (13.9% v. 6.6%, OR = 2.28; 95% CI = 1.75–2.97). Boys had significantly more hyperactivity/inattention, conduct, peer relationship and prosocial behaviour problems compared with girls. Risk factors associated with psychosocial problems were: one or more chronic disease(s), life event(s), a low parental educational level (for boys only) and an income under a modal level. Psychosocial problems were significantly inverse related with quality of life in the total sample (rho = −0.47).
Psychosocial problems are common in children, especially among boys, and are inversely related with children's quality of life. The identified risk factors in this study can be useful for developing targeted prevention strategies aimed at children at high risk for psychosocial problems.
We present the results of two studies investigating the abundance and physical state of
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). Observations
with ISO and Spitzer have shown that PAHs are deficient in low-metallicity galaxies. In
particular, galaxies with 12 + log(O/H) < 8 show mid-IR SEDs and spectra
consistent with low PAH abundance. The SMC provides a unique opportunity to map the PAH
emission in a low-metallicity (12 + log(O/H) ~ 8) galaxy at high spatial
resolution and sensitivity to learn about the PAH life cycle. Using mid- and far-IR
photometry from the Spitzer Survey of the SMC (S3MC) and mid-IR spectral
mapping from the Spitzer Spectroscopic Survey of the SMC (S4MC) we determine
the PAH abundance across the galaxy. We find that the SMC PAH abundance is low compared to
the Milky Way and variable, with high abundance in molecular regions and low abundance in
the diffuse ISM. From the variations of the mid-IR band strengths, we show that PAHs in
the SMC are smaller and more neutral than their counterparts in more metal-rich galaxies.
Based on the results of these two studies we propose that PAHs in the SMC are formed with
a size distribution shifted towards smaller grains and are therefore easier to destroy
under typical diffuse ISM conditions. The distribution of PAH abundance in the SMC
suggests that PAH formation in molecular clouds is an important process. We discuss the
implications of these results for our understanding of the PAH life-cycle both at
low-metallicity and in the Milky Way.
The last quarter century has seen a tremendous increase in quantitative information on the dust in galaxies. Yet, essential knowledge is still lacking. Recent results underline how determinations of dust mass and dust-to-gas ratio in galaxies are still beset by very considerable uncertainties.
Early results from the SAGE-SMC (Surveying the Agents of Galaxy Evolution in the tidally-disrupted, low-metallicity Small Magellanic Cloud) Spitzer legacy program are presented. These early results concentrate on the SAGE-SMC MIPS observations of the SMC Tail region. This region is the high H i column density portion of the Magellanic Bridge adjacent to the SMC Wing. We detect infrared dust emission and measure the gas-to-dust ratio in the SMC Tail and find it similar to that of the SMC Body. In addition, we find two embedded cluster regions that are resolved into multiple sources at all MIPS wavelengths.