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Immune-endocrine host response to endotoxin in major depression.

Author(s): Vedder H, Schreiber W, Schuld A, Kainz M, Lauer CJ, Krieg JC, Holsboer F, Pollmacher T

Affiliation(s): Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany. vedder@med.uni-marburg.de

Publication date & source: 2007-04, J Psychiatr Res., 41(3-4):280-9. Epub 2006 Oct 11.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

OBJECTIVE: An impaired hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) function is a well-established finding in major depression (MD), but it is still unclear how this dysfunction affects immune responses in this disorder. METHOD: To further examine the relationship between immune and endocrine responses in MD, 0.4ng/kg body weight endotoxin [LPS] or 100mug hCRH were sequentially applied to 12 patients with MD and to 12 age- and gender-matched healthy controls after pre-treatment with 1.5mg dexamethasone (DEX). Immune (TNF-alpha, IL-6, rectal temperature) and endocrine (ACTH, cortisol) parameters were examined as area under the curve (AUC) levels. RESULTS: After pre-treatment with DEX, LPS evoked an immune response in all participants of the study with most immune parameters significantly related to the endotoxin challenge. However, only a marked immune response resulted in an additional endocrine reaction. Subsequently, the quantitative extent of the endocrine reaction was related to the extent of the immune response after DEX/LPS challenge. Pre-LPS AUC levels of cortisol, ACTH and post-LPS levels of IL-6 as well as the post-CRH AUC levels of cortisol and ACTH were related to the depressive symptomatology as measured by the Beck depression inventory (BDI). In depressive patients who showed increased cortisol plasma levels before LPS, the later increase in IL-6 was reduced. CONCLUSIONS: The challenge with DEX/LPS did not reveal major impairments of evoked immune functions in MD. Only the endocrine parameters and the IL-6 response were related to the depressive symptomatology, suggesting a limited interaction between immune and endocrine dysfunctions in MD.

Page last updated: 2007-05-03

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