Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Folate deficiency, biopterin and monoamine metabolism in depression

T. Bottiglieria1, K. Hylanda1, M. Laundya1, P. Godfreya1, M. W. P. Carneya1, B. K. Toonea1 and E. H. Reynoldsa1 c1

a1 Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, King's College Hospital, London; Department of Psychiatry and Haematology, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex; Institute of Child Health, London


Seven (21%) of 34 patients with a severe DSM-III diagnosis of major depression had red-cell folate levels below 150 ng/ml. This subgroup with folate deficiency had significantly lower CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA) compared to neurological controls. For all depressed patients red-cell folate was significantly correlated with CSF 5HIAA and homovanillic acid (HVA). CSF tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) was significantly correlated with CSF 5HIAA and HVA and red-cell folate. Our observations provide further evidence of the links between folate, biopterin and monoamine metabolism in depression.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr E. H. Reynolds, Department of Neurology, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS.