The homocysteine hypothesis of depression

Marshal Folstein, Timothy Liu, Inga Peter, Jennifer Buel, Lisa Arsenault, Tammy Scott, Wendy W. Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


High levels of homocysteine are associated with cerebrovascular disease, monoamine neurotransmitters, and depression of mood. A plausible hypothesis for these associations is that high homocysteine levels cause cerebral vascular disease and neurotransmitter deficiency, which cause depression of mood. The homocysteine depression hypothesis, if true, would mandate inclusions of imaging studies for cerebrovascular disease and measures of homocysteine, folate, and B12 and B6 vitamins in the clinical evaluation of older depressed patients. Longitudinal studies and clinical trials should be designed to challenge the hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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