Examination of glucose transporter-1, transforming growth factor-β and neuroglobin immunoreactivity in the orbitofrontal cortex in late-life depression


  • Declaration of interest: None. The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Ahmad Khundakar, PhD, Edwardson Building, Institute for Ageing and Health, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6BE, UK. Email: ahmad.khundakar@ncl.ac.uk


Aims:  This study immunohistochemically examined the orbitofrontal cortex for three possible candidates in hypoxic/ischemic signaling: the cytokine transforming growth factor-β, the glucose transporter-1 and the neuron-specific oxygen-binding protein neuroglobin.

Methods:  Post-mortem tissue from 20 depressed and 20 non-depressed individuals was obtained and the expression of the three proteins was analyzed using image analysis software.

Results:  No significant changes were found in transforming growth factor-β or neuroglobin in the orbitofrontal cortex between depressed and non-depressed individuals. There was, however, a trend towards a reduction in glucose transporter-1 in the depressed group.

Conclusions:  This study does not clearly support the hypothesis that hypoxic/ischemic processes are behind the pathological deficits in the frontal-subcortical circuitry associated with depression and therefore does not provide evidence to support the ‘vascular depression’ hypothesis.