A journal report in Translational Psychiatry aimed at determining whether cytokines and kynurenine metabolites could predict the onset of depression in pregnancy.
As part of the study, 114 women took part in the research, in which blood samples and symptoms were analyzed each trimester and after gestation.
The study led to 15 biological markers found in the blood that could predict if any profound depressive symptoms would suffice in pregnancy, with an accuracy rate of 83%.
“We analyzed plasma IL-1β, IL-2, -6, -8, -10, TNF, kynurenine, tryptophan, serotonin, kynurenic- quinolinic- and picolinic acids and used mixed-effects models to assess the association between biomarkers and depression severity,” according to the study.
Researchers stated that an estimated one in five new mothers exhibit depressive symptoms during or after pregnancy, as inflammation results in worsening symptoms.
“Altogether, our work shows that cytokines and tryptophan metabolites can predict depression during pregnancy and could be useful as clinical markers of risk.”
“Moreover, inflammation and kynurenine pathway enzymes should be considered possible therapeutic targets in peripartum depression,” the study determined.