Downregulation of Adhesion Molecule CHL1 in B Cells but Not T Cells of Patients with Major Depression and in the Brain of Mice with Chronic Stress

C. R. Yang, L. Ning, F. H. Zhou, Q. Sun, H. P. Meng, Z. Han, Y. Liu, W. Huang, S. Liu, X. H. Li, B. Zheng, Dong Ming, Xin Fu Zhou

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Depression is a common serious mental disorder with unclear pathogenesis. Currently, specific diagnostic biomarkers are yet to be characterized. The close homolog of L1 (CHL1) is a L1 family cell adhesion molecule involved in the regulation of neuronal survival and growth. Although genome-wide expression profiling of human lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) reported neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) L1 as a tentative biomarker for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant response, the involvement of CHL1 in depression is unclear. In this study, using a well-established chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) depression mouse model, we examined the mRNA and protein expression of CHL1 in normal control, CUMS, vehicle (VEH), fluoxetine (FLU), and clozapine (CLO) groups. We found that in the CUMS group, both mRNA and protein expression of CHL1 were downregulated in both the hippocampus and the cortex. Treatment of CUMS mice with FLU and CLO reversed CHL1 mRNA and protein expression. In the human study, we showed that CHL1 expression was significantly downregulated in monocytes of unipolar and bipolar depressive patients compared with healthy donors (HD) at both mRNA and protein levels. Consistently, ELISA showed that CHL1 levels in the serum of patients with depression were reduced and negatively correlated with their HRSD-21 scores. Further flow cytometry studies showed that the reduced number of CHL1 positive CD19+ and CD20+ B cells of patients with depression was subsequently reversed with antidepressant treatment. Our findings suggested that downregulation of CHL1 from both immune cells and the brain may be linked to the immunopathogenesis of depression. In conclusion, CHL1 may be an important predictive marker for both diagnosis and treatment outcome of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-928
Number of pages15
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • B cells
  • Biomarker
  • CHL1
  • CUMS
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

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