Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inflammation Biomarker Linked to Depression

Elevated levels in a common blood test used to measure inflammation are associated with increased risk for psychological distress and depression, according to Danish researchers writing online December 24 in Archives of General Psychiatry. Their study looked at the medical records of 73,131 people in Copenhagen. Odds ratios of distress, use of antidepressants, and hospitalization for depression were about double that of the general population for people with CRP levels above the standard cutoff of 10 mg/L.

How inflammation and depression interact is not well understood, wrote Børge Grønne Nordestgaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., of the Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, but inflammation may cause depression by reducing levels of serotonin, or depression may cause inflammation by activating stress hormones.

“More research is needed to establish the direction of the association between CRP and depression,” said the researchers. In addition, intervention studies might test whether adding anti-inflammatory drugs to antidepressant treatment of depression would affect outcomes, they suggested.

To read more about recent research on the association between inflammation and psychiatric disorders, see Psychiatric News here and here.

(Image: Gunnar Assmy/


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