Interferon-α effects on diurnal hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis activity: Relationship with proinflammatory cytokines and behavior

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.5). 05/2010; 15(5):535-47. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2008.58
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Interferon (IFN)-alpha has been used to investigate pathways by which innate immune cytokines influence the brain and behavior. Accordingly, the impact of IFN-alpha on diurnal secretion of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis hormones was assessed in 33 patients eligible for treatment with IFN-alpha plus ribavirin for hepatitis C. In addition, the relationship between IFN-alpha-induced HPA axis changes and proinflammatory cytokines and behavior was examined. Plasma ACTH and cortisol as well as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin-6 and their soluble receptors, were measured hourly between 0900 and 2100 hours at baseline and following approximately 12 weeks of either no treatment (n=13) or treatment with IFN-alpha/ribavirin (n=20). Plasma IFN-alpha was also measured at each visit. Depression and fatigue were assessed using the Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale and the multidimensional fatigue inventory. Compared to no treatment, IFN-alpha/ribavirin administration was associated with significant flattening of the diurnal ACTH and cortisol slope and increased evening plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations. Flattening of the cortisol slope and increases in evening cortisol were correlated with increases in depression (r=0.38, P<0.05 and r=0.36, P<0.05, respectively) and fatigue (r=0.43, P<0.05 and r=0.49, P<0.01, respectively). No relationship was found between immune and HPA axis measures, although increases in plasma IFN-alpha, TNF-alpha and soluble TNF-alpha receptor2 were independently correlated with behavioral endpoints. These data indicate that chronic exposure to innate immune cytokines may contribute to the altered diurnal HPA axis activity and behavior found in medically ill individuals. However, given the lack of correlation between HPA axis and immune measures, the mechanism by which chronic cytokine exposure influences HPA axis function remains to be determined.

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Available from: Charles L Raison, Jan 16, 2014
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    • "Moreover, elevated plasma levels of TNF-í µí»¼ are associated with treatment resistance to conventional antidepressants [15]. In hepatitis C patients that are chronically treated with interferon-í µí»¼, increased blood levels of TNF-í µí»¼ correlate with the development of depressive symptoms [16]. Furthermore, peripheral administration of anti-TNF-í µí»¼ antibodies improves depressed mood in patients suffering from psoriasis [17], Crohn's disease [18], and rheumatoid arthritis [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical observations indicate that activation of the TNF-α system may contribute to the development of inflammation-associated depression. Here, we tested the hypothesis that systemic upregulation of TNF-α induces neuroinflammation and behavioral changes relevant to depression. We report that a single intraperitoneal injection of TNF-α in mice increased serum and brain levels of the proinflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1, in a dose- and time-dependent manner, but not IL-1β. Protein levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 increased in serum but not in the brain. The transient release of immune molecules was followed by glial cell activation as indicated by increased astrocyte activation in bioluminescent Gfap-luc mice and elevated immunoreactivity against the microglial marker Iba1 in the dentate gyrus of TNF-α-challenged mice. Additionally, TNF-α-injected mice were evaluated in a panel of behavioral tests commonly used to study sickness and depressive-like behavior in rodents. Our behavioral data imply that systemic administration of TNF-α induces a strong sickness response characterized by reduced locomotor activity, decreased fluid intake, and body weight loss. Depressive-like behavior could not be separated from sickness at any of the time points studied. Together, these results demonstrate that peripheral TNF-α affects the central nervous system at a neuroimmune and behavioral level.
    08/2015; 2015:716920. DOI:10.1155/2015/716920
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    • "We therefore explored effects of aging on the glutamate response to IFN-alpha in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and determined whether these effects were associated with alterations in inflammatory markers and behaviors previously shown to be altered in IFN-alpha-treated patients including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and its soluble receptor sTNFR2, motivation, and motor activity (Capuron et al., 2012; Majer et al., 2008; Raison et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Inflammation-induced alterations in central nervous system (CNS) metabolism have focused on glutamate. At excessive concentrations, glutamate is toxic to glia and neurons, and inflammatory cytokines have been shown to influence glutamate metabolism by blocking glutamate reuptake and increasing glutamate release. Increased glutamate has also been found in depression, a disorder associated with increased inflammation. Data by our group have shown increased glutamate as measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in basal ganglia and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex of patients administered the inflammatory cytokine interferon (IFN)-alpha. Given data that increasing age is associated with an exaggerated CNS inflammatory response, we examined whether older age (>55 years) would be associated with a greater IFN-alpha-induced increase in CNS glutamate. Using a longitudinal design, 31 patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) underwent MRS, blood sampling for inflammatory markers, and behavioral assessments before (Visit1) and after four weeks (Visit 2) of either IFN-alpha (n=17) or no treatment (n=14). Older patients treated with IFN-alpha exhibited a significantly increased glutamate from Visit 1 to Visit 2 as reflected by the glutamate/creatine ratio (Glu/Cr) in left basal ganglia compared to older controls and younger IFN-alpha-treated and untreated subjects. In addition, increased Glu/Cr in older but not younger IFN-alpha-treated and untreated patients was associated with increased tumor necrosis factor, reduced motivation as measured by the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory and increased choice movement time on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Taken together, these preliminary data support the notion that older age may interact with inflammation to exaggerate the effects of inflammatory stimuli on CNS glutamate and behavior. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 12/2014; 46. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.12.004 · 5.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Inflammation may have a straight contribution on the neurobiology and pathogenesis of anxiety, given that cytokines can change HPA axis function, stimulating the expression and release of corticotropin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol [124] [125] "
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