Cytokines sing the blues: inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression.

Charles L. Raison, Lucile Capuron, Andrew H. Miller
Trends in Immunology. 2006-01-01; 27(1): 24-31
DOI: 10.1016/

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1. Trends Immunol. 2006 Jan;27(1):24-31. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Cytokines sing the blues: inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression.

Raison CL(1), Capuron L, Miller AH.

Author information:
(1)Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of
Medicine, 101 Woodruff Circle, Suite 4000, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Increasing amounts of data suggest that inflammatory responses have an important
role in the pathophysiology of depression. Depressed patients have been found to
have higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines, acute phase proteins, chemokines
and cellular adhesion molecules. In addition, therapeutic administration of the
cytokine interferon-alpha leads to depression in up to 50% of patients. Moreover,
proinflammatory cytokines have been found to interact with many of the
pathophysiological domains that characterize depression, including
neurotransmitter metabolism, neuroendocrine function, synaptic plasticity and
behavior. Stress, which can precipitate depression, can also promote inflammatory
responses through effects on sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
pathways. Finally, depression might be a behavioral byproduct of early adaptive
advantages conferred by genes that promote inflammation. These findings suggest
that targeting proinflammatory cytokines and their signaling pathways might
represent a novel strategy to treat depression.

DOI: 10.1016/
PMCID: PMC3392963
PMID: 16316783 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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