The Biomarker Association between Depression and Vascular Disease

Major depressive disorder (MDD) has repeatedly emerged as a confounding or prognostic factor in the development of cardiovascular pathologies and other common lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity. It is predicted to be the leading cause of disability by 2030. Several associations between MDD and cardiovascular disease (CVD) involve abnormal autonomic regulation, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction ( It is important to further explore the association between vascular pathology and MDD, since this may offer insight into important markers for diagnosis, and offer possibilities for targeted, personalised treatment.

A recent review of the association between vascular inflammation and depression ( summarised the MDD inflammatory panel: IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, IL-13, IL-18, and IL-12. Elevated levels of these biomarkers in peripheral circulation contribute to vascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (specifically in the blood-brain barrier) and accelerated atherosclerosis. Conversely, biomarkers for vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction (C-reactive protein, von Willebrand factor, aldosterone, and proinflammatory cytokines) have been linked with an increased incidence of depression.

The association between these diseases is further strengthened by dysregulation of the tryptophan/kynurenine pathway, the Hypothalamus–Pituitary–Adrenal (HPA) Axis Pathway, and the autonomic nervous system ( Each of these are accompanied by their own set of biomarkers that can provide insight into disease status and response to treatment.

Synexa Life Sciences has a comprehensive portfolio of validated biomarker assays to assess circulating cytokines, chemokines and other inflammatory markers and neurotransmitters. These, together with our validated complement assays to assess endothelial dysfunction, can provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals targeting the complex and intertwined nature of the nervous, complement, and/or vascular systems. We are highly experienced in the development of custom soluble biomarker assays to assess all areas of pathology, making use of fully validated assay platforms and a wealth of scientific insight.