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Inflammatory markers in depression

Dinan, Timothy G

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2009 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 32–36
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328315a561
Personality disorders and neurosis: Edited by Charles B. Pull and Aleksandar Janca

Purpose of review To provide a critical update of the literature linking depression and inflammation, together with possible underlying mechanisms and longer term risk of cardiovascular disease.

Recent findings The current literature lends further support to the view that major depression is associated with a proinflammatory response, as indexed by elevation in C-reactive protein and cytokines such as interleukin 6 and tumour necrosis factor-α. Antidepressants suppress the inflammatory response, whereas electroconvulsive therapy acutely increases proinflammatory cytokine levels. Most, though not all, studies support a link between depression, inflammation and cardiovascular events.

Summary Depression is an inflammatory state that may increase the risk of cardiac disease. Whether or not the immune system is an appropriate target for antidepressant development has yet to be established.

Department of Psychiatry and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Correspondence to Professor Ted Dinan, Department of Psychiatry, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland Tel: +353 21 4901224; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.