Date of Completion

Spring 4-29-2016

Thesis Advisor(s)

Bruce Blanchard

Honors Major

Allied Health Sciences


Objective: To investigate the relationship between Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and inflammation assessed using serum C-reactive protein (CRP) in young adults. CRP has been associated with MDD in middle-aged and older adults, but the relationship has yet to be established in college-aged adults with MDD.

Methods: This ongoing cross-sectional study included 56 patients with MDD and 106 healthy age-matched controls. Depressed patients were recruited from mental health institutions across Connecticut, and were being treated for depression with a Second Generation Antipsychotic (SGA). Questionnaire data, anthropometric measurements and fasting blood draws were recorded for all participants.

Results: Young adults with MDD had significantly higher CRP levels than healthy controls (p<0.05). Body Mass Index (BMI) and leptin were positively correlated with CRP (p<0.001) in the MDD group, but not in the controls. Use of Oral Contraception (OC) was positively associated with CRP concentrations in both depressed and non-depressed subjects (p<0.010). Using, multivariate regression analysis, we were able to account for approximately 42% of the variability in CRP in the depressed population.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the relationship between CRP and MDD that has been established in older adults exists in young adults treated with SGA medication as well. The depressed population had significantly higher CRP and leptin levels, and BMI than controls, pointing to a possible role that adiposity and inflammation play in depression.