A relative resistance of T cells to dexamethasone in bipolar disorder

Esther M. Knijff*, M. Nadine Breunis, Marielle C. van Geest, Ralph W. Kupka, Cindy Ruwhof, Harm J. de Wit, Willem A. Nolen, Hemmo A. Drexhage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: A relative resistance of immune cells to steroids has been established in patients with major depression (MD). In this study, we investigated the in vitro responsiveness of T cells to dexamethasone (DEX) of patients with bipolar disorder (BD).

Methods: T cells of outpatients with DSM-IV BD (n = 54) and of healthy control subjects (HC; n = 29) were isolated, cultured and stimulated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) for 72 h. The suppressive effect of graded concentrations of DEX (5 x 10(-9)-10(-5) M) on PHA-induced CD25 (IL-2R) expression was measured by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Data were correlated to the T-cell activation status in the peripheral blood of the same patients and to their diagnosis, current mood state, ultradian cycling pattern and current use of medication, including lithium.

Results: T cells of patients with BD were less sensitive to DEX-induced suppressive effects as compared with T cells of HC. These data were particularly evident at 10(-7) M DEX (mean % suppression +/- SEM BD: 18.9% +/- 3.5 versus HC: 35.8% +/- 4.7, p = 0.001). We found no correlations of this relative in vitro DEX resistance of T cells neither with the previously mentioned clinical characteristics nor with the actual activation status of the T cells in the BD patients.

Conclusion: A relative T-cell resistance to steroids, as has been observed in MD previously, may be a trait phenomenon of BD, independent of mood state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-750
Number of pages11
JournalBipolar Disorders
Volume8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2006

Keywords

  • bipolar disorder
  • dexamethasone
  • resistance
  • T cells
  • GLUCOCORTICOID-RECEPTOR GENE
  • MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
  • PITUITARY-ADRENAL AXIS
  • SUPPRESSION TEST
  • MOOD DISORDERS
  • HORMONE TEST
  • LYMPHOCYTE SENSITIVITY
  • MEDIATED-IMMUNITY
  • LITHIUM TREATMENT
  • MANIC PATIENTS

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