• Does Depression Affect More Than Mood - LC-MS Investigates

Supercritical fluid (SFC), Green Chromatography

Does Depression Affect More Than Mood - LC-MS Investigates

Mar 22 2020

Depression is more than just having a bad day. Being persistently sad or down for weeks or months at a time is one way of describing depression. It is a genuine illness with a wide range of symptoms that range from unhappiness and hopelessness through to suicidal thoughts as sufferers feel they cannot carry on.

A recent study of depression has focussed on some of the other effects that the illness causes in the human body. The research carried out by scientists in China was published in the journal BioMed Research International focused on female students with depression and investigated changes in the heart rate and metabolism when compared with control students.

A complex mental illness

Depression is a complex disease that causes anxiety, insomnia and even suicidal thoughts. It is reported that the incidence of depression is increasing in many areas of society including in the student community. Depression can be a severe mental illness and the causes and mechanisms of depression are not fully known or understood currently.

In the paper referenced above - Feature of Heart Rate Variability and Metabolic Mechanism in Female College Students with Depression - the researchers set out to find out more about the effects of depression on students. But rather than concentrate on how their moods were affected, the researchers wanted to use metabonomics to see how depression affected metabolic mechanisms in the body and also the heart rate variability of patients with depression.

More going on than just mood

The team based their analysis on twelve female college students who had their depression ranked using the standard Beck Depression Inventory - a guide used by doctors worldwide to assess a patient’s level of depression. 12 healthy patients were used as a control group. Both groups had their heart rate variability measured and urine samples were taken. Care was taken to moderate the subject’s food and drink intake in the hours prior to the measurements being made.

Both gas and liquid chromatography in conjunction with mass spectrometry were used to monitor the metabolites in the subject’s urine. The use of chromatography to analyse samples of human origin is discussed in the article, Online Solid Phase Extraction and LC/MS Analysis of Thyroid Hormones in Human Serum.

The study showed that the overall heart rate variation of depressed students was lower than the control group - a result which is similar to other studies. The chromatography of the urine samples showed that the depressed samples had disorders in five metabolic pathways compared with the control group. The results show that it is not just mood that is affected when you suffer from depression.

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