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Serum concentrations of TNF-α and its soluble receptors during psychotherapy in German soldiers suffering from combat-related PTSD


Himmerich, H and Willmund, GD and Zimmerman, P and Wolf, J-E and Buhler, AH and Kirkby, KC and Dalton, B and Holdt, LM and Teupser, D and Wesemann, U, Serum concentrations of TNF-α and its soluble receptors during psychotherapy in German soldiers suffering from combat-related PTSD, Psychiatria Danubina, 28, (3) pp. 293-298. ISSN 0353-5053 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Medicinska naklada - Zagreb, Croatia

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Background: Changes in serum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and its soluble receptors (sTNF-R) p55 and p75 have been shown to be associated with various psychiatric treatments.

Subjects and methods: Before and after treatment, serum levels of TNF-α, sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 were measured in 38 German soldiers who had been deployed abroad and suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients were randomized either to inpatient psychotherapy (N = 21) including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or to outpatient clinical management (N = 17). Symptoms of PTSD were measured using the Post-traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS).

Results: The PDS score significantly decreased across time in both groups. Serum concentrations of TNF-α increased, while sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 levels decreased significantly. After the treatment period, we could not detect any significant difference regarding TNF-α, sTNF-R p55 or sTNF-R p75 levels between the inpatient psychotherapy group and the outpatient clinical management control group.

Conclusions: This relatively small clinical study suggests that specific inpatient psychotherapy but also non-specific supportive outpatient treatment for PTSD are associated with changes in the TNF-α system. This may represent an immunological effects or side effects of psychotherapy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), soluble TNF receptors, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotherapy
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Kirkby, KC (Professor Kenneth Kirkby)
ID Code:111842
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-10-11
Last Modified:2018-03-07

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