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Studies have shown that depression relates to biomarkers of both short-term and long-term polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. However, it is not known which of these two biomarkers is more closely related to depression. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship of depression with both adipose tissue and serum phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids and to assess the importance of each of these two biomarkers in relating to depression. This is a cross-sectional study of healthy adults from the island of Crete. Subjects were examined by the Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic of the University of Crete. Subjects were 394 healthy adults (175 males, 219 females) aged 18-60. The sample consisted of farmers from a number of rural communities of Crete. Fatty acids were determined by gas chromatography in adipose tissue and serum phospholipids. Information about depression was obtained through the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZSRDS). Adipose tissue alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (C18:3n-3) was inversely correlated to BDI (r=-0.17, p<0.02). Multiple linear regression analysis taking into account the possible confounding effect of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking and educational level did not confirm this association. The other polyunsaturated fatty acids in adipose tissue were not related to depression. Serum phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids did not correlate with depression. This study did not show that the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the adipose tissue are better predictors of depression than those in serum phospholipids.

Original publication




Journal article


Pharmacol biochem behav

Publication Date





6 - 10


Adipose Tissue, Adolescent, Adult, Aminolevulinic Acid, Anthropometry, Biomarkers, Body Mass Index, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depressive Disorder, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Female, Greece, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Middle Aged, Phospholipids, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Surveys and Questionnaires