A recent study suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) is decreased in people suffering from depression and that it can be detected through a blood test.
Major depressive disorder is affecting tons of people and it’s early diagnosis is very important. While treatment is always exciting, for some disorders, diagnosis is more important. There have been many molecules associated with depression but LAC, can be easily detected in the blood and it is another biomarker for effective diagnosis.
LAC is a molecule produced in the body, whose function is mainly critical for hippocampal function and behaviour. When there are low levels of LAC, rodents have been shown to have decreased hippocampal function and dendritic plasticity.
On the other hand, supplementing LAC can have an antidepressant-like effect. Those effects are both immediate and lasting and are thought to be caused by epigenetic mechanisms of histone acetylation.
In humans, LAC levels were lower in MDD patients compared to healthy controls. Additionally, the amount of LAC predicted the severity of depression in most patients. Other findings suggest that LAC deficiency can be induced by environmental factors and that it can lead to treatment-resistant depression.
These findings suggest that this molecule is a very interesting biomarker that can signal depression, and supplementation of it can be an effective treatment. Further studies may show more information on how we can detect depression before major symptoms arise and how we can treat it. Since there is an genetic element to this, there is a possibility that gene therapy may be a possible treatment too. Recent studies have shown that gene therapy is getting better and better as we understand more about genetics.
Such findings will help us diagnose and treat depression much more effectively and even become better at providing personalized medicine with precise results and treatments for individual patients.