Depression and tetrahydrobiopterin: the folate connection

Coppen, A., Swade, C., Jones, S.A., Armstrong, Richard A., Blair, J.A. and Leeming, R.J. (1989). Depression and tetrahydrobiopterin: the folate connection. Journal of Affective Disorders, 16 (2-3), pp. 103-107.


Total biopterin, neopterin and creatinine were measured in spot urine samples from affective disorder patients on lithium therapy and control subjects. Folic acid was also measured in plasma in a sample of the patients. The mean neopterin: biopterin ratio was significantly higher in the 76 patients (3.2 +/- 0.5) than in the 61 controls (1.8 +/- 0.1). In female patients biopterin levels were significantly lower than in controls. In the control groups there was a significant correlation between the molar concentration of neopterin and biopterin. No such correlation was found in the patients. These data indicate that tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) biosynthesis is reduced in this group. A significant positive correlation was found between plasma folate and urinary biopterin. It is suggested that folate deficiency may impair the synthesis of BH4, a cofactor essential for the synthesis of 5-HT and other monoamines that are involved in the pathogenesis of affective disorders.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Life & Health Sciences > Optometry
Life & Health Sciences > Ophthalmic Research Group
Life & Health Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tetrahydrobiopterin,neopterin,depression,folic acid,monoamines
Published Date: 1989-03
Authors: Coppen, A.
Swade, C.
Jones, S.A.
Armstrong, Richard A. ( 0000-0002-5046-3199)
Blair, J.A.
Leeming, R.J.


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