Lower serum vitamin E concentrations in major depression. Another marker of lowered antioxidant defenses in that illness

Michael Maes, Nathalie De Vos, Rosaria Pioli, Paul Demedts, Annick Wauters, Hugo Neels, Armand Christophe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Major depression is associated with defective antioxidant defenses. Vitamin E is the major fat soluble antioxidant in the body. The aim of the present study is to examine serum vitamin E concentrations in major depressed patients versus normal volunteers. Method: Serum vitamin E concentrations were measured in 26 healthy volunteers and 42 major depressed patients by means of HPLC. Since vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, and serum vitamin E concentrations are strongly related to these of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, we have adjusted the results for possible differences in these lipids. The numbers of peripheral blood leukocytes were measured. Results: Patients with major depression had significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations than healthy controls. The area under the ROC (receiver operating characteristics) curve was 83%. There were significant and negative correlations between serum vitamin E and number of total leukocytes and neutrophils. Conclusions: Major depression is accompanied by significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations, suggesting lower antioxidant defenses against lipid peroxidation. The results could, in part, explain previous findings, which suggest increased lipid peroxidation in major depression. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


  • Antioxidant
  • Cytokines
  • Depression
  • Fatty acids
  • Immunity
  • Oxidative stress
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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