Increased Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule in the CSF of Patients with Mood Disorder


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Poltorak at his present address: Department of Neurology, George Washington University Medical Center, 2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.


Abstract: Neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) is involved in cell-cell interactions during synaptogenesis, morphogenesis, and plasticity of the nervous system. Disturbances in synaptic restructuring and neural plasticity may be related to the pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric diseases, including mood disorders and schizophrenia. Disturbances in brain cellular function may alter concentrations of N-CAM in the CSF. Soluble human N-CAM proteins are detectable in the CSF but are minor constituents of serum. We have recently found an increase in N-CAM content in the CSF of patients with schizophrenia. Although the pathogenesis of both schizophrenia and mood disorders is unknown, ventriculomegaly, decreased temporal lobe volume, and subcortical structural abnormalities have been reported for both disorders. We have therefore measured N-CAM concentrations in the CSF of patients with mood disorder. There were significant increases in amounts of N-CAM immunoreactive proteins, primarily the 120-kDa band, in the CSF of psychiatric inpatients with bipolar mood disorder type I and recurrent unipolar major depression. There were no differences in bipolar mood disorder type II patients as compared with normals. There were no significant effects of medication treatment on N-CAM concentrations. It is possible that the 120-kDa N-CAM band present in the CSF is derived from CNS cells as a secreted soluble N-CAM isoform. Our results suggest the possibility of latent state-related disturbances in N-CAM cellular function, i.e., residue from a previous episode, or abnormal N-CAM turnover in the CNS of patients with mood disorder.