Is depression associated with immune activation? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related research

BACKGROUND: Some research immunologists have suggested that

major depression amd chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are

characterized by immune activation. To test this hypothesis,

we compared immunological function in patients with major

depression and in patients with CFS who developed major

depression after the onset of CFS to that of sedentary healthy


METHODS: Subjects completed the Centers for

Epidemiological Study-Depression (CES-D) questionnaire and

allowed venisection. We performed flow cytometric analysis on

13 groups of white blood cells and used a reverse

transcriptase PCR method to assay m-RNA of eight cytokines.

RESULTS: CES-D scores were high in both patient groups and did

not differ significantly. We found no evidence for immune

activation in either patient group. Instead the data suggested

immunological downregulation in depression.


all the subjects in the two patient groups were off


CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that immune

activation is not necessary in depression–either alone or

with CFS.

Natelson BH, Denny T, Zhou XD, LaManca JJ, Ottenweller JE, Tiersky

L, DeLuca J,Gause WC

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