University of Oulu

Mia D. Eriksson, Johan G. Eriksson, Hannu Kautiainen, Minna K. Salonen, Tuija M. Mikkola, Eero Kajantie, Niko Wasenius, Mikaela von Bonsdorff, Merja K. Laine, Advanced glycation end products measured by skin autofluorescence are associated with melancholic depressive symptoms – Findings from Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 145, 2021, 110488, ISSN 0022-3999,

Advanced glycation end products measured by skin autofluorescence are associated with melancholic depressive symptoms : findings from Helsinki Birth Cohort Study

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Author: Eriksson, Mia D.1,2; Eriksson, Johan G.2,3,4,5; Kautiainen, Hannu2,3,4,5,6;
Organizations: 1Primary Health Care Unit, Helsinki University Hospital (HUS), Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Human Potential Translational Research Programme, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
5Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
6Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
7Department of Public Health Solutions, Public Health Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
8Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
11Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-29


Background: Millions of people live with depression and its burden of disease. Depression has an increased comorbidity and mortality that has remained unexplained. Studies have reported connections between advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and various disease processes, including mental health. The present study evaluated associations between AGEs, depressive symptoms, and types of depressive symptoms.

Methods: From the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, 815 participants with a mean age of 76 years were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Characteristics regarding self-reported lifestyle and medical history, as well as blood tests were obtained along with responses regarding depressive symptoms according to the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Mental Health Inventory-5. Each participant had their AGE level measured non-invasively with skin autofluorescence (SAF). Statistical analyses looked at relationships between types of depressive symptoms and AGE levels by sex.

Results: Of women, 27% scored ≥10 on the BDI and 18% of men, respectively. Men had higher crude AGE levels (mean [standard deviation], arbitrary units) (2.49 [0.51]) compared to women (2.33 [0.46]) (p < 0.001). The highest crude AGE levels were found in those with melancholic depressive symptoms (2.61 [0.57]), followed by those with non-melancholic depressive symptoms (2.45 [0.45]) and those with no depressive symptoms (2.38 [0.49]) (p = 0.013). These findings remained significant in the fully adjusted model.

Conclusions: The current study shows an association between depressive symptoms and higher AGE levels. The association is likely part of a multi-factorial effect, and hence no directionality, causality, or effect can be inferred solely based on the results of this study.

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Series: Journal of psychosomatic research
ISSN: 0022-3999
ISSN-E: 1879-1360
ISSN-L: 0022-3999
Volume: 145
Article number: 110488
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110488
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: The HBCS has been supported by grants from Finska Läkaresällskapet, the Finnish Special Governmental Subsidy for Health Sciences, Academy of Finland (126775, 127437, 129255, 129306, 129907, 130326, 134791, 209072, 210595, 213225, 263924, 275074 and 315690), Samfundet Folkhälsan, Liv och Hälsa, EU FP7 [Developmental Origins of Healthy Aging (DORIAN)] project number 278603, and EU H2020-PHC-2014-DynaHealth grant 633595 and EU Horizon 2020 Award 733206 LIFECYCLE (all for the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study), European Commission, Horizon2020 award 733280 RECAP), Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, Foundation for Diabetes Research, Foundation for Pediatric Research, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation.
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
(733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
(956454) RecaP - Capture, recycling and societal management of phosphorus in the environment
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (