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The relationship of peripheral blood cell inflammatory biomarkers and psychological stress in unmedicated major depressive disorder.

BACKGROUND: Recent research has explored the linkage between major depressive disorder (MDD) and inflammation, especially via altered peripheral blood immune markers. However, the relationship between several novel leukocyte-derived ratios (LDR) and psychological stress in MDD remains uncertain. This study aimed to explore the relationship between LDR, clinical characteristics, recent life events, and childhood maltreatment in MDD patients.

METHODS: A cross-sectional case-control study was conducted involving 59 healthy controls (HC) and 50 unmedicated MDD patients. Subjects underwent psychological assessments and peripheral blood measurements. LDR assessed in this study included neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), derived NLR (dNLR), monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (MLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), white blood cell-to-mean platelet volume ratio (WMR), systemic immune inflammation index (SII), multiplication of neutrophil and monocyte counts (MNM), and systemic inflammation response index (SIRI).

RESULTS: MDD patients displayed significant alterations in WMR, PLR, and MNM compared to HC, as well as correlations between several LDR and various clinical features (duration of untreated psychosis and dNLR, the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire and PLR, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire and SIRI (NLR and dNLR). There was a significant difference in the comparison of WMR in first-episode patients than in recurrent patients. Analyses further revealed an association between Life Event Scale total scores and NLR (dNLR). No correlation was found between Childhood Trauma Questionnaire total (or subscale) scores and LDR. Additionally, WMR and dNLR presented potential predictive value for distinguishing between MDD and HC.

CONCLUSION: The study concludes that MDD and some clinical features are associated with alterations in some peripheral blood LDR. These findings emphasize the potential role of peripheral blood LDR in the pathogenesis and clinical heterogeneity of MDD.

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