A topographical map of the causal network of mechanisms underlying the relationship between major depressive disorder and coronary heart disease

Nicolas J.C. Stapelberg, David L. Neumann, David H.K. Shum, Harry McConnell, Ian Hamilton-Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) are both clinically important public health problems. Depression is linked with a higher incidence of ischaemic cardiac events and MDD is more prevalent in patients with CHD. No single comprehensive model has yet described the causal mechanisms linking MDD to CHD. Several key mechanisms have been put forward, comprising behavioural mechanisms, genetic mechanisms, dysregulation of immune mechanisms, coagulation abnormalities and vascular endothelial dysfunction, polyunsaturated omega-3 free fatty acid deficiency, and autonomic mechanisms. It has been suggested that these mechanisms form a network, which links MDD and CHD. The aim of this review is to examine the causal mechanisms underlying the relationship between MDD and CHD, with the aim of constructing a topological map of the causal network which describes the relationship between MDD and CHD. Methods: The search term 'depression and heart disease' was entered into an electronic multiple database search engine. Abstracts were screened for relevance and individually selected articles were collated. Results: This review introduces the first topological map of the causal network which describes the relationship between MDD and CHD. Conclusions: Viewing the causal pathways as an interdependent network presents a new paradigm in this field and provides fertile ground for further research. The causal network can be studied using the methodology of systems biology, which is briefly introduced. Future research should focus on the creation of a more comprehensive topological map of the causal network and the quantification of the activity between each node of the causal network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-369
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes

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