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Increase in interleukin-1 beta in late-life depression

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Dr Sue Davis, Louise Ward, Professor John O'Brien


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Objective: Depression has been associated with increases in circulating cytokines in younger adults, and there is evidence for prefrontal inflammation in late-life depression. The authors tested the hypothesis that levels of cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) would be higher in subjects with late-life major depression. Method: Serum levels of IL-1beta were measured in three groups of subjects who were older than 60: 19 subjects with major depression, 20 subjects with subsyndromal depression, and 21 healthy comparison subjects. The Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Geriatric Depression Scale were used to assess severity of depression. Results: Compared with healthy subjects, those with major depression had significantly higher levels of IL-1beta (170%); the higher levels of IL-1beta strongly correlated with current depression severity. There were no significant differences between subjects with subsyndromal depression and the other two groups. Conclusions: These findings support the existence of an inflammatory response, which may be state dependent, in late-life depression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thomas AJ, Davis S, Morris C, Jackson E, Harrison R, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2005

Volume: 162

Issue: 1

Pages: 175-177

ISSN (print): 0002-953X

ISSN (electronic): 1535-7228

Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.162.1.175


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