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Pathways Between Inflammation and Depression are Bi-Directional: Review Study

by Dr. Nicy Varghese on  April 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Negative moods can activate certain mechanisms in the body that result in up-regulation of inflammation and again, inflammatory substances bring about changes in the brain that cause major depressive disorder, according to a study published in the journal Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Thus, pathways between inflammation and depression are bi-directional.
Pathways Between Inflammation and Depression are Bi-Directional: Review Study
Pathways Between Inflammation and Depression are Bi-Directional: Review Study
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Systemic disorders contribute to the mental health of the patient. Depression can reduce the functional parameters of immune system. Meanwhile innate, non-specific inflammation is related to depressed moods. Chronic age-related systemic diseases can cause reasons for morbidity of depression in advanced age groups.

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Inflammation is an immune response to any pathogens or tissue damage mediated by macrophages which are large white blood cells involved in the body's defense mechanism. These release pro-inflammatory cytokines that causes inflammatory response.

Depression is a mental disorder with commonly seen symptoms such as loss of interest, low energy, disturbed sleep or appetite and poor concentration.

Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1b, and especially, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha are known to have effects on depressed moods. Animal studies have shown that peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokines could penetrate the blood brain barrier and stimulate the production of central pro-inflammatory cytokines that regulates the moods. When humans were administered immune stimulating endotoxins that cause low-grade inflammation, episodes of major depression was recorded. Hence increased level of cytokines in blood is related to the symptoms of depression.

Negative mood causes high level of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Depression activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis that leads to release of cortisol, which aggravates sympathetic stimulus (the fight or flight response) and reduces parasympathetic stimulus (the rest and digest response). This increases pro-inflammatory cytokines in blood which then cause inflammation in the body.

Hence this is a complex feedback network involving central nervous system, endocrine system and immune system. These act in modulation of peripheral inflammatory response to maintain peripheral homeostatic balance.

Source: http://www.biolmoodanxietydisord.com/content/pdf/2045-5380-2-4.pdf

Source: Medindia
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