Neutrophil to-lymphocyte and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratios as biomarkers for suicidal behavior in children and adolescents with depression or anxiety treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Maya Amitai, Shaked Kaffman, Eitan Kroizer, Maya Lebow, Iddo Magen, Noa Benaroya-Milshtein, Silvana Fennig, Abraham Weizman, Alan Apter, Alon Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Both the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and the platelet/lymphocyte ratio (PLR) have been proposed as biomarkers of suicidal risk in adults with depression. We examined whether these ratios may be considered biomarkers for suicidal behavior in young patients with major depressive or anxiety disorders before treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or as biomarkers for the adverse event of SSRI-associated suicidality. Methods: Children and adolescents meeting criteria for major depressive or anxiety disorder were recruited. Serum levels of three pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β) were assessed; and NLR and PLR calculated, from blood samples collected at baseline and after 8 weeks treatment with SSRI. A Mann-Whitney test was performed to evaluate differences in NLR and PLR between children with and without a history of a suicide attempt prior to treatment. We compared hematological parameters before and after treatment, and between children who developed SSRI-associated suicidality versus children without treatment emergent suicidality. Results: Among 91 children and adolescents (aged 13.9 ± 2.4 years), baseline NLR and PLR were significantly higher among those with a history of a suicide attempt versus those without such history. Statistically significant correlations were found for the suicide ideation subscale in the Columbia suicide severity rating scale with both baseline NLR and PLR. Baseline NLR and PLR were similar in children who did and did not develop SSRI-associated suicidality after 8 weeks. In the final logistic regression model (χ2 = 18.504, df = 4, p value = 0.001), after controlling for sex, depression severity and IL-6 levels, NLR was significantly associated with a past suicide attempt (β = 1.247, p = 0.019; OR [95% CI] = 3.478 [1.230–9.841]), with a NLR cut-off value of = 1.76 (area under the curve = 0.75 (95% CI = 0.63–0.88, sensitivity = 73%, and specificity = 71%, p value = 0.003). Conclusions: High NLR and PLR values may be associated with suicidal behavior in depressed and anxious children and adolescents. NLR appears as a better predictor of suicide attempt than PLR, and thus may be a useful biomarker of suicidality in young patients with depression or anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume104
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • NLR
  • PLR
  • Suicidality

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