eCite Digital Repository

Cytokine levels in depressed and non-depressed subjects, and masking effects of obesity


Schmidt, FM and Lichtblau, N and Minkwitz, J and Chittka, T and Thormann, J and Kirkby, KC and Sander, C and Mergl, R and Faszhauer, M and Stumvoll, M and Holdt, LM and Teupser, D and Hegerl, U and Himmerich, H, Cytokine levels in depressed and non-depressed subjects, and masking effects of obesity, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 55 pp. 29-34. ISSN 0022-3956 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.04.021


In major depressive disorder, changes in cytokine levels have been reported to play a role in pathogenesis. Therefore, we sought to investigate a broad range of cytokines in depression. We compared serum levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon (INF-γ) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in 64 subjects with current depression and 206 non-depressed subjects.

Depressed patients had higher levels of IL-2, IL-5, IL-12, IL-13, GM-CSF, INF-γ and TNF-α, compared to non-depressed subjects. Splitting groups into non-obese (BMI < 30) and obese (BMI ≥ 30), the non-obese depressed patients (n = 40) showed elevated IL-5, IL-12, IL-13, GM-CSF, INF-γ and TNF-α levels compared to non-obese and non-depressed subjects (n = 85). The obese and depressed patients (n = 24) showed elevated levels of IL-5, IL-12 and INF-γ compared to obese but not depressed subjects (n = 121). Levels of several cytokines were found to be associated with physical activity, employment status and presence of daily naps.

The results support over-expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in depression and extend the range of cytokines potentially associated with depression to include GM-CSF, IL-5 and IL-13. Changes in these cytokines may contribute to co-morbidity between depression and allergic and asthmatic diseases. The results also suggest inflammatory processes associated with obesity, and support an interaction between cytokine serum concentrations and behavioral aspects of both obesity and depression.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cytokines, inflammation, major depressive disorder, obesity
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:97109
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:102
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2014-12-03
Last Modified:2017-11-03

Repository Staff Only: item control page