Overindulgence in Internet gaming, which is related to rapid development of the online game industry, can cause a psychiatric disorder known as Internet gaming disorder (IGD). The number of adolescents with IGD is on the rise in countries with developed Internet technologies, such as South Korea. Therefore, it is important to develop biomarkers to detect patients at high risk of IGD. This study investigated expression levels of proteins in the blood of adolescents to provide insight into the development of biomarkers.
We collected blood samples from 73 subjects [40 healthy adolescents (Internet gaming control, IGC) and 33 adolescents with IGD] between 13:00 and 15:00. We analyzed the expression levels of orexin A, oxytocin, cortisol, melatonin, BDNF, sICAM-1, RANTES, and NCAM using multiplex assay kits.
Orexin A was significantly ( p = .016) elevated in the IGD group and the expression levels of melatonin tended to be higher ( p = .055) in the IGD group. On the other hand, increased Internet gaming time in the IGD group was negatively correlated ( p = .041) with expression of BDNF. On the contrary, sICAM-1 associated with inflammation exhibited the tendency of the positive correlation ( p = .073) with Internet gaming time in the IGD group.