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Vol. 67, No. 4, 2013
Issue release date: May 2013
Neuropsychobiology 2013;67:185-191

Plasma Amyloid-β Levels in Drug-Resistant Bipolar Depressed Patients Receiving Electroconvulsive Therapy

Piccinni A. · Veltri A. · Vizzaccaro C. · Catena Dell'Osso M. · Medda P. · Domenici L. · Vanelli F. · Cecchini M. · Franceschini C. · Conversano C. · Marazziti D. · Dell'Osso L.
aDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, bNeuroscience Institute, National Research Council, Pisa, and cDepartment of Science and Biomedical Technologies (SBT), University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy

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Aims: Alterations of plasma amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides have been related to a high risk for cognitive impairment and dementia. The present study aimed to measure plasma Aβ peptides (Aβ40, Aβ42) and the Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio in a sample of drug-resistant bipolar depressed patients, as well as to explore the possible correlation between biological parameters and clinical changes along an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) course. Methods: Aβ40 and Aβ42 were measured by means of an ELISA assay in 25 drug-resistant bipolar depressed patients before (T0) and 1 week after (T1) the end of ECT. The patients were clinically evaluated by means of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, 21-item (HRSD-21), the Mini-Mental State Examination, and the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness Scale. Results: Plasma Aβ levels and the Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio were similar at T0 and T1. The Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio correlated positively with the HRSD total score at both T0 and T1. At T0, a negative correlation was found between the Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio and the improvement of depressive and cognitive symptoms. Moreover, remitters (n = 9; HRSD ≤10) showed a significantly lower Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio at T0 than nonremitters. Conclusion: The present data suggest that a low Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio might characterize a subgroup of depressed patients who respond to ECT, while higher values of this parameter seem to be typical of more severe cases of patients with cognitive impairment.

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