Stressful life events and major depressive disorders.

Feinberg Child Study Center, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan Street, Petah Tikva, Israel.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 09/2008; 160(2):192-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.06.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the relationship between stressful life events (SLE) and recurrent major depressive disorders. Three groups of 50 subjects were assessed: Patients with recurrent major depressive disorder with melancholic features; patients with borderline personality disorder; and healthy controls. Interviews for AXIS I and II DSM-IV Disorders were used for diagnosis. The Israel Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview Life Event Scale and the Coddington Life Events Schedule were used to measure life events and were confirmed with an interview. Beck Depression Inventory was also administered. The proportions of loss-related events in childhood and in the year preceding the first episode were higher in the depressed group than in the control groups during the same time period. Proportions of SLE, uncontrolled and independent events were also more common in the depressed patients in the year preceding the first episode. No category of SLE differentiated the groups following the first depressive episode. The study's conclusion is that SLE play an important role in the onset of depressive disorders. There are specific kinds of SLE that occur in childhood and in the year preceding the first episode. SLE has a less significant role in the maintenance of this illness.

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    ABSTRACT: During the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in understanding and characterizing the role of inflammation in major depressive disorder (MDD). Indeed, several are the evidences linking alterations in the inflammatory system to Major Depression, including the presence of elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, together with other mediators of inflammation. However, it is still not clear whether inflammation represents a cause or whether other factors related to depression result in these immunological effects. Regardless, exposure to early life stressful events, which represent a vulnerability factor for the development of psychiatric disorders, act through the modulation of inflammatory responses, but also of neuroplastic mechanisms over the entire life span. Indeed, early life stressful events can cause, possibly through epigenetic changes that persist over time, up to adulthood. Such alterations may concur to increase the vulnerability to develop psychopathologies. In this review we will discuss the role of inflammation and neuronal plasticity as relevant processes underlying depression development. Moreover, we will discuss the role of epigenetics in inducing alterations in inflammation-immune systems as well as dysfunction in neuronal plasticity, thus contributing to the long-lasting negative effects of stressful life events early in life and the consequent enhanced risk for depression. Finally we will provide an overview on the potential role of inflammatory system to aid diagnosis, predict treatment response, enhance treatment matching, and prevent the onset or relapse of Major Depression.
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