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Increased Serum Levels of Cortisol and Inflammatory Cytokines in People With Depression

Jia, Yong, PhD*; Liu, Linlin, MS; Sheng, Chuqiao, MD; Cheng, Zhaohua, MD§; Cui, Lianzhi, PhD; Li, Min, MD; Zhao, Yawei, PhD#; Shi, Tongfei, MD#; Yau, Tung On, PhD**; Li, Feng, PhD*; Chen, Li, PhD*#

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: April 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 4 - p 271–276
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000957
Original Articles

This cross-sectional study aimed at measuring the correlation and association between serum levels of cortisol, inflammatory cytokines, and depression and to measure the detection accuracy of serum levels of cortisol in serum samples. In total, 89 male participants were recruited into this study from June 15, 2017, to September 31, 2017. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were used to investigate the mental health status of the participants. Serum concentrations of cortisol and inflammatory cytokines were determined. The serum cortisol concentration, anxiety level, and sleep quality were included in the final logistic regression model. Serum cortisol was able to accurately distinguish between patients with depression and those without depression. There was a significant positive correlation between serum cortisol levels and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores.

*School of Nursing, and

School of Public Health, Jilin University;

Department of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, The First Hospital of Jilin University;

§Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Department, The Second Hospital of Jilin University;

Clinical Laboratory, Jilin Cancer Hospital;

Invasive Technology Department, The First Hospital of Jilin University;

#Department of Pharmacology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, China; and

**School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK.

Send reprint requests to Li Chen, PhD, School of Nursing, Jilin University, No. 965 Xinjiang Street, Changchun, Jilin 130021, China. E-mail:

Author contributions: The project was designed by Li Chen. Yong Jia drafted and wrote the paper. Yong Jia and Tung On Yau performed the data analysis. Yong Jia collected the participants' information and carried out the investigation. Yong Jia, Yawei Zhao, and Tongfei Shi carried out the serum experiment. Feng Li, Chuqiao Sheng, Tung On Yau, Linlin Liu, Min Li, and Zhaohua Cheng revised the paper.

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author L.C. or the first author Y.J. upon reasonable request.

This study was performed according to the ethical guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee of School of Nursing, Jilin University (ID#2016102901). The written informed consent with regard to the survey procedure was obtained from all participants before participation in the study. The study was registered at Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ID#ChiCTR1800016674).

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