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Cytokine levels in the blood may distinguish suicide attempters from depressed patients.

Psychoimmunology Unit, Division of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Brain Behavior and Immunity (Impact Factor: 5.61). 10/2010; 25(2):335-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.10.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Elevated plasma cytokines is a common finding in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), although not consistent. It is currently not known whether the inflammatory changes are confined to any specific subgroup of depressive patients. We here analyzed three inflammatory markers in suicidal and non-suicidal depressed patients, as well as healthy controls. Plasma interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were measured in 47 suicide attempters, 17 non-suicidal depressed patients and 16 healthy controls. Study participants were evaluated using the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS) with subscales for anxiety and degree of depression, as well as the Suicide Assessment Scale (SUAS). We found increased levels of IL-6 and TNF-α as well as decreased IL-2 concentrations in suicide attempters compared to non-suicidal depressed patients and healthy controls. The results were adjusted for potential confounders of cytokine expression, such as age, sex, body mass index (BMI), degree of depression, anxiety, personality disturbance, abuse and type of medication. These results demonstrate for the first time that suicidal patients display a distinct peripheral blood cytokine profile compared to non-suicidal depressed patients. Thus, our study provides further support for a role of inflammation in the pathophysiology of suicidality.

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