The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system

Articolo suggerito da: Dott.sa Chiaramonte Greta

In questo articolo viene spiegato come lo stress cronico agisca sull'asse ipotalamo-ipofisi-surrenalico e sul sistema immunitario determinando a lungo andare lo sviluppo di sindromi ansioso depressive. Viene spiegato come i cambiamenti comportamentali correlati allo stato depressivo siano determinati dalla presenza di citochine pro infiammatorie e glucocorticoidi.Da ciò si spiega come farmaci con azione antinfiammatoria centrale potrebbero avere un ruolo come antidepressivi.

Tratto da: Curr Immunol Rev. 2010 August ; 6(3): 205–212. doi:10.2174/157339510791823835.

The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system

Brian E. Leonard

Pharmacology Department, National University of Ireland, Galway and Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

Chronic stress, by initiating changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system, acts as a trigger for anxiety and depression. Both experimental and clinical evidence shows that a rise in the concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines and glucocorticoids, as occurs in chronically stressfulsituations and in depression, contribute to the behavioural changes associated with depression. A defect in serotonergic function is associated with hypercortisolaemia and the increase in proinflammatory cytokines that accompany depression.

Glucocorticoids and proinflammatory cytokines enhance the conversion of tryptophan to kynurenine. In addition to the resulting decrease in the synthesis of brain serotonin, this leads to the formation of neurotoxins such as the glutamate agonist quinolinic acid and contributes to the increase in apoptosis of astrocytes, oligodendroglia and neurons.

The importance of the inflammation hypothesis of depression lies in raising the possibility that psychotropic drugs that have a central anti-inflammatory action might provide a new generation of antidepressants.