Baseline levels of miR-223-3p correlate with the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy in patients with major depression


Kaurani L, Besse M, Methfessel I, Methi A, Zhou J, Pradhan R, Burkhardt S, Kranaster L, Sartorius A, Habel U, Grözinger M, Fischer A, Wiltfang J, Zilles-Wegner D


Translational Psychiatry


Transl Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 13;13(1):294.


There is a strong medical need to develop suitable biomarkers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of depression, particularly in predicting response to certain therapeutic approaches such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that have the ability to influence the transcriptome as well as proteostasis at the systems level. Here, we investigate the role of circulating microRNAs in depression and response prediction towards ECT. Of the 64 patients with treatment-resistant major depression (MDD) who received ECT treatment, 62.5% showed a response, defined as a reduction of ≥50% in the MADRS total score from baseline. We performed smallRNA sequencing in blood samples that were taken before the first ECT, after the first and the last ECT. The microRNAome was compared between responders and non-responders. Co-expression network analysis identified three significant microRNA modules with reverse correlation between ECT- responders and non-responders, that were amongst other biological processes linked to inflammation. A candidate microRNA, namely miR-223-3p was down-regulated in ECT responders when compared to non-responders at baseline. In line with data suggesting a role of miR-223-3p in inflammatory processes we observed higher expression levels of proinflammatory factors Il-6, Il-1b, Nlrp3 and Tnf-α in ECT responders at baseline when compared to non-responders. ROC analysis of confirmed the diagnostic power of miR-223-3p demarcating ECT-responders from non-responder subjects (AUC = 0.76, p = 0.0031). Our data suggest that miR-223-3p expression and related cytokine levels could serve as predictors of response to ECT in individuals with treatment-resistant depressive disorders.



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