AbstractIt has been hypothesised that depletion of docosahexanoic acid (DHA) may be of aetiological importance in depression. We measured the fatty acid composition of phospholipid in cell membranes from red blood cells (RBC) of 15 drug free depressive patients and 15 healthy control subjects. Depressive patients showed significant depletion of DHA. However, populations were not well matched for smoking habit which might have affected fatty acid breakdown. In a second study, RBC DHA was measured in 10 unipolar depressed patients and 14 healthy non depressed subjects of similar smoking habit. Depleted DHA levels were again found. RBC DHA levels showed a significant negative correlation with severity of depression. These findings may open new possibilities for treatment using fatty acid supplementation.
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