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Moving pharmacoepigenetics tools for depression toward clinical use

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-04-15, 00:00 authored by Laura M Hack, Gabriel R Fries, Harris A Eyre, Chad A Bousman, Ajeet SinghAjeet Singh, Joao Quevedo, Vineeth P John, Bernhard T Baune, Boadie W Dunlop
Background
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and over half of patients do not achieve symptom remission following an initial antidepressant course. Despite evidence implicating a strong genetic basis for the pathophysiology of MDD, there are no adequately validated biomarkers of treatment response routinely used in clinical practice. Pharmacoepigenetics is an emerging field that has the potential to combine both genetic and environmental information into treatment selection and further the goal of precision psychiatry. However, this field is in its infancy compared to the more established pharmacogenetics approaches.

Methods
We prepared a narrative review using literature searches of studies in English pertaining to pharmacoepigenetics and treatment of depressive disorders conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, PsychINFO, and Ovid Medicine from inception through January 2019. We reviewed studies of DNA methylation and histone modifications in both humans and animal models of depression.

Results
Emerging evidence from human and animal work suggests a key role for epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, in the prediction of antidepressant response. The challenges of heterogeneity of patient characteristics and loci studied as well as lack of replication that have impacted the field of pharmacogenetics also pose challenges to the development of pharmacoepigenetic tools. Additionally, given the tissue specific nature of epigenetic marks as well as their susceptibility to change in response to environmental factors and aging, pharmacoepigenetic tools face additional challenges to their development.

Limitations
This is a narrative and not systematic review of the literature on the pharmacoepigenetics of antidepressant response. We highlight key studies pertaining to pharmacoepigenetics and treatment of depressive disorders in humans and depressive-like behaviors in animal models, regardless of sample size or methodology. While we discuss DNA methylation and histone modifications, we do not cover microRNAs, which have been reviewed elsewhere recently.

Conclusions
Utilization of genome-wide approaches and reproducible epigenetic assays, careful selection of the tissue assessed, and integration of genetic and clinical information into pharmacoepigenetic tools will improve the likelihood of developing clinically useful tests.

History

Journal

Journal of affective disorders

Volume

249

Pagination

336 - 346

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

eISSN

1573-2517

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Elsevier B.V.