Leo Sher, M.D.
A research article, “Leaky gut biomarkers in depression and suicidal behavior” has recently been published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica online ahead of print (1).
Researchers examined plasma levels of gut permeability markers in patients with a recent suicide attempt, major depressive disorder (MDD) subjects with no history of a suicide attempt, and healthy controls, and related these markers to symptom severity and inflammation. Zonulin, intestinal fatty acid binding protein, soluble CD14, and interleukin-6 were measured in plasma. Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and Suicide Assessment Scale (SUAS) were used for clinical assessments.
The recent suicide attempt group displayed higher intestinal fatty acid binding protein and lower zonulin levels compared with both the MDD subjects with no history of a suicide attempt and the healthy controls groups. Interleukin-6 correlated positively with intestinal fatty acid binding protein and negatively with zonulin. In all study participants, intestinal fatty acid binding protein levels correlated positively with MADRS and SUAS scores. The latter correlation was significant also in the patients with a recent suicide attempt.
The authors noted that some lifestyle factors, especially dietary habits, influence gut permeability. Diets consisting of fast food and processed food have been linked to both increased gut permeability and to depression and suicidality.
The authors concluded that gut permeability markers zonulin and intestinal fatty acid binding protein were altered in patients with a recent suicide attempt. The authors also suggested that the “leaky gut hypothesis” may help explain part of the association between the inflammation and suicidal behavior.
- Ohlsson L, Gustafsson A, Lavant E, Suneson K, Brundin L, Westrin Å, Ljunggren L, Lindqvist D. Leaky gut biomarkers in depression and suicidal behavior. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Oct 22. doi: 10.1111/acps.12978. [Epub ahead of print]