Mean lipid levels are similar among adolescents with and without major depressive disorder (MDD), as is the proportion of adolescents with borderline-high lipid levels.


Teen depression is associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing cardiovascular (CV) events, with dyslipidemia being a potentially modifiable risk factor.

Only a few studies have examined the association between depression and lipids during adolescence, when confounding comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes are less common.

The study included 243 adolescents (186 with MDD and 57 healthy controls [HCs]) who were mostly female and had a mean age of 15 years.

Researchers assessed CV risk factors including body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking status, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglyceride (TG), which were classified as acceptable or borderline high.

Dyslipidemia was defined as having concentration of at least one lipid outside the acceptable range.


Most participants in both groups had lipid concentrations within the acceptable range.

There were no differences between study groups in mean lipid levels after adjusting for age, sex, and standardized BMI.

There were also no differences in the proportion of adolescents with borderline-high lipid concentrations.

Among youth with MDD, greater depressive symptoms were associated with higher HDL levels and a lower TG:HDL ratio after adjusting for sex, age, and standardized BMI.


“Taken together, results of the current study support the need for further examination of the relationship between gender, depression, and cholesterol,” the authors write.


The study was conducted by Anisa F. Khalfan, Neurosciences and Mental Health research program, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, and colleagues. It was published online June 9, 2023, in the Journal of Affective Disorders.


The HC group was relatively small, which might have contributed to the null findings. The mean Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) score was 8.3 among healthy youth compared with 37.5 among MDD youth, limiting detection of an association related to depression severity.


The study was supported by the Lunenfeld Summer Studentship. The authors report no relevant financial relationships.

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