Interferon-alpha-induced depressive symptoms are related to changes in the cytokine network but not to cortisol

Marieke C. Wichers*, Gunter Kenis, Ger H. Koek, Geert Robaeys, Nancy A. Nicolson, Michael Maes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Proinflammatory cytokines have the potential to activate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, and HPA axis hyperactivity is also encountered in depression. Therefore, the induction of depressive symptoms by interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) may be mediated by changes in the cytokine network and the HPA axis. Methods: In 17 hepatitis C patients undergoing IFN-alpha treatment, depressive symptoms were measured using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). In addition, serum cytokine concentrations were measured. Saliva was collected five times over the course of a day in order to assess daily average cortisol (DAC) and awakening response. Assessments were carried out at baseline and six later time points after starting treatment. Results: During treatment, the increases in the MADRS were significantly and positively correlated with soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, tumor necrosis factor a (TNF-alpha), and IL-6. There were no significant associations between the DAC or cortisol awakening response with the MADRS score. Conclusion: Results suggest a clear connection between IFN-alpha-induced depressive symptoms and cytokine concentrations, but not cortisol. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • interferon-alpha treatment
  • depression
  • cortisol
  • proinflammatory cytokines
  • HPA axis
  • CHRONIC HEPATITIS-C
  • CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE
  • PITUITARY-ADRENAL AXIS
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • SALIVARY CORTISOL
  • INTERFERON-ALPHA-2-INDUCED STIMULATION
  • SERUM CORTISOL
  • STRESS
  • SECRETION
  • RIBAVIRIN

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