Significant alterations in peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in patients with somatoform disorder
ABSTRACT Objective: Previous studies have suggested that somatoform disorders (SFD) might be associated with changes in the function of the central and autonomic nervous systems. The aim of this study was to examine the possible immunological differences between SFD and healthy controls.Methods: Twenty-four patients with SFD and 13 healthy individuals completed the psychological questionnaires to assess symptom reporting [Symptom Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90-R)] and to diagnose for SFD [Screening for Somatoform Symptoms scale (SOMS-scale)]. Participants also provided a blood sample taken in the morning, which was analysed with an automated cell counter to determine the number of leucocytes per μl and with flow cytometry to determine lymphocyte subsets.Results: With the exception of a higher T4/T8 ratio in the patient group, which was mainly because of lower CD8 counts, there were no significant differences in the absolute number of lymphocytes (subsets) between patients with SFD and healthy subjects. A positive correlation between B-lymphocyte subsets (CD19+CD22+, CD19+CD5+, CD19+CD3−) to all scales of the SCL-90-R, except somatisation, were found in SFD. Additionally, a positive correlation was found in SFD between CD14+CD16+ monocytes and somatisation (0.573) on the SCL-90-R scale.Conclusion: These data indicate that patients with SFD have an enhanced humoral immunity as shown by increased B-cell numbers and furthermore an elevated T4/T8 ratio because of lower CD8 suppressor cells. Further studies will be required to determine whether these alterations in lymphocyte subsets are directly involved in the pathophysiology of SFD.
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ABSTRACT: Objective: This study used a prospective design and the technique of structural modelling to examine the complex interrelations between psychological factors, immune status and complications after major surgery.Methods: Twenty-nine women scheduled for elective cholecystectomy were studied prospectively. Information regarding medical history, health practices, life stressors, and coping strategies was obtained two weeks prior to admission. At this initial meeting, as well as three days after surgery, and at one month follow-up immunological tests were performed and the level of psychological distress was assessed. The study additionally included measures of post-operative complications, and infections and negative effect during follow-up.Results: Pre-operative immune status emerged as a key variable exerting strong effects on subsequent immune function and, thereby producing significant, indirect effects on every recovery variable. Pre-operative distress was directly linked to increased mood disturbance at follow-up. Moreover, distress significantly influenced immune function both before and after surgery, which mediated a significant impact on most recovery variables. Active coping behaviour directly increased the risk of a complicated recovery.Conclusions: The study demonstrated that distress-induced changes in immune functioning have clinical relevance. Overall, the present findings suggest that recovery from surgery is facilitated in patients with a well-functioning immune system, a low-level of pre-operative distress and a passive coping disposition.Acta Neuropsychiatrica 08/2009; 21(4):169 - 178. · 0.64 Impact Factor