Impact of Major Depressive Disorder on Prediabetes by Impairing Insulin Sensitivity.

Academic Article


  • Reports regarding the associations between major depressive disorder (MDD) and diabetes remain heterogeneous. Our aim was to investigate whether glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity were impaired in the MDD patients and its mechanisms. A total of 30 patients with MDD and 30 matched controls were recruited. The oral glucose tolerance test and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan were performed in each participant. Insulin signaling in postmortem brain tissues from other depressive patients and controls (obtained from Alabama brain bank) was examined. Insulin sensitivity was reduced substantially in the MDD patients, however, the fasting and 2-h glucose concentrations remained within the normal range through compensatory insulin secretion. Despite increased insulin secretion, 1-h glucose concentrations in the MDD patients were significantly elevated compared with the controls. MDD patients had greater visceral fat mass but lower adiponectin levels compared with the controls. Furthermore, phosphorylated-AKT levels in insulin signaling were decreased in postmortem brain tissues in patients with MDD. These results suggest that MDD patients are at a greater risk for diabetes due to decreased insulin sensitivity, reduced disposition index, and impaired glucose tolerance as manifested by elevated 1-h glucose concentrations following an oral glucose challenge. Mechanistic studies reveal that decreased insulin sensitivity is associated with increased visceral fat mass, lower adiponectin levels and impaired insulin action in postmortem brain tissues in the MDD patients. Our findings emphasize the importance of screening depressive patients to identify susceptible individuals for developing future diabetes with the hope of improving their health outcomes.
  • Published In


  • Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular diseases, Glucose tolerance test, Insulin sensitivity, Phosphorylation, Prediabetes
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Li L; Shelton RC; Chassan RA; Hammond JC; Gower BA; Garvey TW
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 4