Chronic Food Antigen-specific IgG-mediated Hypersensitivity Reaction as A Risk Factor for Adolescent Depressive Disorder.

Genomics, proteomics & bioinformatics. 2019;17(2):183-189
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Plain language summary

The prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) among adolescents has been on the rise recently. A high level of systemic low-grade inflammation is found in the serum of MDD adults, which is believed to interfere with neurotransmitter metabolism, resulting in symptoms of depression. Furthermore, disruption of the blood-brain barrier may inhibit neurotransmitter metabolism. One hundred and eighty-four adolescents with moderate MDD were evaluated against the same number of healthy controls to determine their serum levels of markers of inflammation, homocysteine, food sensitivity, histamine, and histamine metabolism. The study found that histamine levels and food antigen-specific antibodies in MDD adolescent patients were significantly higher than those in the control group. Increasing histamine levels, food-specific IgG levels, and S100 calcium-binding protein B levels suggest blood-brain barrier leakage may contribute to adolescent depression. There is still much to be learned about the pathophysiology of MDD, and further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms involved. The results of this study can be used by healthcare professionals to understand the role of histamine and food sensitivities in the development of adolescent depression rather than low-grade inflammation.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most common nonfatal disease burden worldwide. Systemic chronic low-grade inflammation has been reported to be associated with MDD progression by affecting monoaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission. However, whether various proinflammatory cytokines are abnormally elevated before the first episode of depression is still largely unclear. Here, we evaluated 184 adolescent patients who were experiencing their first episode of depressive disorder, and the same number of healthy individuals was included as controls. We tested the serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), IgE, 14 different types of food antigen-specific IgG, histamine, homocysteine, S100 calcium-binding protein B, and diamine oxidase. We were not able to find any significant differences in the serum levels of hs-CRP or TNF-α between the two groups. However, the histamine level of the patients (12.35 μM) was significantly higher than that of the controls (9.73 μM, P < 0.001, Mann-Whitney U test). Moreover, significantly higher serum food antigen-specific IgG positive rates were also found in the patient group. Furthermore, over 80% of patients exhibited prolonged food intolerance with elevated levels of serum histamine, leading to hyperpermeability of the blood-brain barrier, which has previously been implicated in the pathogenesis of MDD. Hence, prolonged high levels of serum histamine could be a risk factor for depressive disorders, and antihistamine release might represent a novel therapeutic strategy for depression treatment.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Food intolerance and histamine
Environmental Inputs : Diet
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable
Bioactive Substances : None

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 0
Allocation concealment : No