Indian-origin researcher unravels link between depression and heart disease

New Delhi: Depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) partly develop from the same gene module, said a team of researchers establishing the long-presumed link between the two conditions.

Since the 1990s, it has been speculated that the two diseases are somehow related. About 280 million people worldwide have depression, while 620 million people have CVD.

Researchers from the University of Finland used blood gene analysis to unravel the clinical link between the two.

Their result, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry showed that depression and CVD have at least one functional ‘gene module’ in common. The study may help identify new markers for depression and CVD, as well as find drugs to target both diseases.

Gene module can be defined as a group of genes with similar expression patterns across different conditions and hence likely to be functionally related.

“We looked at gene expression profile in the blood of people with depression and CVD and found 256 genes in a single gene module whose expression at levels higher or lower than average puts people at greater risk of both diseases,” said first author Binisha H Mishra, a postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University in Finland.

The team studied gene expression data in the blood of 899 women and men between 34 and 49 years old.

Other genes in the shared module are involved in brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.

“We can use the genes in this module as biomarkers for depression and cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, these biomarkers may facilitate the development of dual-purpose preventative strategies for both diseases,” said Mishra.

IANS

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