The Association of Major Depressive Disorder with Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome, Lipid Peroxidation, and Total Antioxidant Capacity

  • Abdolghader Taene
  • Ghazaleh Khalili-Tanha
  • Aliakbar Esmaeili
  • Leila Mobasheri
  • Omid Kooshkaki
  • Somaieh Jafari
  • Alireza Shokouhifar
  • Gholamreza Anani SarabEmail author


Increasing number of studies indicates that chronic inflammation and oxidative stress play an essential role in pathophysiology and some symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). In the present study, the inflammasome activity and oxidative stress status in untreated and antidepressant-treated MDD patients were compared to the healthy group. Blood samples were taken from 20 MDD patients receiving treatment, 20 first-episode MDD patients not receiving treatment, and 20 healthy controls. The expression level of NLRP3 and caspase-1 was measured by real-time PCR and the serum TAC and MDA were examined in the patients and the control groups. The results showed that the mRNA level of NLRP3 and caspase-1 genes was significantly elevated in MDD groups compared with that in the healthy volunteers (P < 0.005). The expression level of NLRP3 and caspase-1 has slightly decreased in the treated group compared with that in the untreated one, but it was not a meaningful decrease. Moreover, the serum MDA was significantly higher and TAC statistically was lower in untreated MDD patients compared with those in the healthy control group (P = 0.001, P = 0.001). It can be concluded that NLRP3 inflammasome is upregulated in MDD patients. Statistically significant reduction in the level of TAC along with increased lipid peroxidation was detectable in MDD patient’s plasma. In contrast, there was no significant difference between the treated and non-treated groups in terms of oxidative stress (P = 0.6, P = 0.1). Our results suggested that inflammasome signaling pathway is a therapeutic potential for MDD.


Major depressive disorder Total antioxidant activity Lipid peroxidation (LPO) NLRP3 inflammasome 


Funding Information

The author(s) disclosed the receipt of the following financial support for the research: This work was supported by Birjand University of Medical Sciences (grant number 4464).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdolghader Taene
    • 1
  • Ghazaleh Khalili-Tanha
    • 2
  • Aliakbar Esmaeili
    • 3
  • Leila Mobasheri
    • 1
  • Omid Kooshkaki
    • 1
  • Somaieh Jafari
    • 4
  • Alireza Shokouhifar
    • 4
  • Gholamreza Anani Sarab
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Student Research CommitteeBirjand University of Medical SciencesBirjandIran
  2. 2.Cellular and Molecular Research CenterBirjand University of Medical SciencesBirjandIran
  3. 3.Psychiatry and Behavioral Science Research CenterBirjand University of Medical SciencesBirjandIran
  4. 4.Molecular Medicine Department & Genomic Research CenterBirjand University of Medical SciencesBirjandIran

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