Could Multiple Sclerosis Have Bidirectional Association With Depression?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) does not appear to have a bidirectional association with depression, according to new findings published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

The authors of the study arrived at their conclusion after performing a bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR) study to assess a potential causal association between MS and depression.

Specifically, the authors used the most recent genome-wide association study data to assess 168 nonmajor histocompatibility complex independent variants that have known associations with MS, as well as 96 independent genetic variants that have known associations with depression predisposition.

In addition, the authors performed maximum likelihood, inverse variance weighted method, weighted median, and MR-Egger regression analyses.

The results of the study revealed no significant risk of developing MS among individuals with genetic variants associated with depression, and no significant risk of depression among individuals who are genetically prone to developing MS.

“Our results are in line with previous studies finding that the association between MS and depression could not be explained by genetic liability alone,” the authors concluded. “This provides evidence that other factors seem to account for the increased incidence observed between these 2 diseases.”

—Christina Vogt

Binzer S, Jiang X, Hillert J, Manouchehrinia A. Depression and multiple sclerosis: A bidirectional Mendelian randomisation study. Mult Scler. Published online February 19, 2021. doi:10.1177/1352458521996601