Disturbances in peripheral and brain lipid metabolism, including the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been reported in major depressive disorder (MDD). However, these changes have yet to be confirmed in MDD with seasonal pattern (MDD-s), a subtype of recurrent MDD. The present exploratory study quantified plasma plasmalogen and diacyl-phospholipid species, and fatty acids within total phospholipids, cholesteryl esters, triacylglycerols and free fatty acids in non-medicated MDD-s participants (n = 9) during euthymia in summer or fall, and during depression in winter in order to screen for potential high sensitivity lipid biomarkers. Triacylglycerol alpha-linolenic acid concentration was significantly decreased, and myristoleic acid concentration was significantly increased, during winter depression compared to summer-fall euthymia. 1-stearyl-2-docosahexaenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine, a diacyl-phospholipid containing stearic acid and DHA, was significantly decreased in winter depression. Concentrations of cholesteryl ester oleic acid and several polyunsaturated fatty acids between summer/fall and winter increased in proportion to the increase in depressive symptoms. The observed changes in lipid metabolic pathways in winter-type MDD-s offer new promise for lipid biomarker development.
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