Premature T cell aging in major depression: A double hit by the state of disease and cytomegalovirus infection

Maria S. Simon*, Magdalini Ioannou, Gara Arteaga-Henríquez, Annemarie Wijkhuijs, Raf Berghmans, Richard Musil, Norbert Müller, Hemmo A. Drexhage

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    2 Citaten (Scopus)
    10 Downloads (Pure)


    Introduction: Previous research indicates that premature T cell senescence is a characteristic of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, known senescence inducing factors like cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection or, probably, childhood adversity (CA) have not been taken into consideration so far. Objective: Differentiation and senescent characteristics of T cells of MDD patients were investigated in relation to healthy controls (HC), taking the CMV seropositivity and CA into account. Methods: 127 MDD and 113 HC of the EU-MOODSTRATIFICATION cohort were analyzed. Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis was performed to determine B, NK, and T cell frequencies. In a second FACS analysis, naïve, effector memory (Tem), central memory (Tcm), effector memory cells re-expressing RA (TEMRA), as well as CD28+ and CD27+ memory populations, were determined of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations in a subsample (N = 35 MDD and N = 36 HC). CMV-antibody state was measured by IgG ELISA and CA by the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Results: We detected a CMV-antibody positivity in 40% of MDD patients (35% HC, n. s.) with seropositive MDD cases showing a higher total childhood trauma score. Second, a higher inflation of memory CD4+ T helper cells in CMV seronegative patients as compared to seronegative HC and reduced numbers of naïve CD4+ T helper cells in CMV seropositive patients (not in CMV seropositive HC) were found. Third, a higher inflation of memory CD8+ T cytotoxic cells in CMV seropositive cases as compared to CMV seropositive HC, particularly of the TEMRA cells, became apparent. Higher percentages of CD4+ TEMRA and late stage CD27CD28 TEMRA cells were similar in both HC and MDD with CMV seropositivity. Overall, apportioning of T cell subpopulations did not differ between CA positive vs negative cases. Conclusions: MDD patients show several signs of a CMV independent “MDD specific” premature T cell aging, such as a CMV independent increase in CD4+ T memory cells and a latent naïve CD4 T-cell reduction and a latent CD8+ T-cell increase. However, these two latent T cell senescence abnormalities only become evident with CMV infection (double hit).

    Originele taal-2English
    Aantal pagina's9
    TijdschriftBrain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health
    StatusPublished - mei-2023

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