Association between mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration and future depressive symptoms in women

Ju Mi Lee, Sarah B. Nadimpalli, Jin Ha Yoon, Se Yeon Mun, Il Suh, Hyeon Chang Kim

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Insufficient hemoglobin and depression share several symptoms and often occur in the same patients. Here, we sought to clarify their relationship by investigating two indices of oxygenation at the tissue level: mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and hemoglobin level. We hypothesized that MCHC would be more informative than hemoglobin levels. This prospective, longitudinal, community-based study included 337 participants (108 men and 229 women; age range, 38-87 years) who received evaluations of MCHC, hemoglobin levels and depressive symptom scores (DSS) during baseline and follow-up examinations, which were performed in 2008-2011 and 2010-2012, respectively. MCHC and hemoglobin levels were measured as part of complete blood counts, while DSS was evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory. Associations were analyzed using linear regression. We found a statistically significant association between baseline MCHC and follow-up DSS (β = −0.69, p = 0.026), which remained statistically significant after controlling for potential confounders (β = −0.71, p = 0.011). Further, when we analyzed the relationship separately for men and women, we observed that it remained stable for women before (β = −1.00, p = 0.014) and after (β = −1.09, p = 0.003) adjusting for confounders. The stable association indicates that MCHC may be superior to hemoglobin level as a prognostic factor for future depressive symptoms in women. MCHC is easy to measure and low MCHC is usually treatable. Therefore, screening and intervention efforts could be targeted at women with low MCHC, who appear to have elevated risks of developing depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Lee, J.M. thanks to Philip Greenland for scientific discussion. Lee, J.M. also thanks the All But Dissertation (ABD) trainee program, which is supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government, for covering U.S. boarding costs while this research was carried out. Nadimpalli, S.B. thanks the T32 program, which is supported by a National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32HL069771. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Health. This study was supported by the grants from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-E71004-00, 2009-E71006-00, 2010-E71003-00, 2011-E71002-00, 2012-E71007-00). Korean CDC had no role in the design of this study, analysis of the data, in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Tohoku University Medical Press.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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