Parasympathetic predominance is a risk factor for future depression: A prospective cohort study

Hoyoung An, Ji Won Han, Hyun Ghang Jeong, Tae Hui Kim, Jung Jae Lee, Seok Bum Lee, Joon Hyuk Park, Ki Woong Kim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Changes in parasympathetic activity have been associated with depression; however, it is not well understood whether these changes are a result of depression, or represent a compensatory mechanism protecting against it. We examined the association of autonomic nervous system activity with the risk of depression in euthymic individuals and those with subsyndromal depression using heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. Methods: From a community-based longitudinal cohort, 464 subjects from the baseline assessment and 253 who completed the 5-year follow-up visit were included in the cross-sectional and prospective analyses, respectively. Linear regression analysis was used to investigate the association of HRV measures with the current and future GDS scores. Logistic regression analysis examined the effect of HRV on future risk of SSD. Results: Low-frequency power (LFN), high-frequency power (HFN), and the LFN/HFN ratio at the baseline assessment were associated with the GDS score at the 5-year follow-up assessment; however, they were not associated with the GDS score at the baseline assessment. High HFN indicated an increased risk of depression at the 5-year follow-up assessment in euthymic subjects (OR = 3.025, 95% CI = 1.184 – 7.726, p = 0.021). Limitations: HRV was not measured at the follow-up assessment and the interval between the assessments was comparatively long. Five-minute ECG recordings were used, and all participants were 65 years old or older. Conclusions: Parasympathetic predominance may precede the onset of depression in older adults.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)232-237
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
    Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1


    • Biological markers
    • Cardiovascular
    • Depression
    • Geriatric
    • Heart-rate variability
    • Parasympathetic nervous system

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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