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Raised levels of plasma interleukin-1β in major and postviral depression

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bruce Owen, Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier, Professor Allan Young


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Objective: Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is released as part of the acute phase immune response and can directly stimulate the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone and thus induce hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity. Major depression has been shown to be accompanied by both an acute phase immune response, including raised IL-1β production and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyper-activity. In this study the possible role of IL-1β in major depression and postviral depression was investigated. Method: Plasma IL-1β levels were measured in four groups; patients suffering from postviral depression (n= 17), patients with major depression (n=20), subjects who were postviral and euthymic (n= 12) and normal controls (n = 20). Results: IL-1β serum concentrations were significantly elevated in both groups of depressed patients compared to controls. The serum concentrations of IL-1β were higher in the postviral group than in the major depression group; this difference was not significant. Conclusion: These data confirm previous suggestions of elevated IL-1β levels in major depression and postviral depression. IL-1β is known to induce depressive symptoms as well as sickness behaviour and may contribute to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity found in mood disorders.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young H; Ferrier IN; Owen BM; Eccleston D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica

Year: 2001

Volume: 103

Issue: 3

Pages: 226-228

ISSN (print): 0001-690X

ISSN (electronic): 1600-0447

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00162.x

PubMed id: 11240580


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