There is increasing evidence for an association between the alteration of cytokine concentrations in blood and the pathophysiology of depressive disorders. Studies in humans have not investigated CSF cytokine concentrations and their relationship to depressive disorders. This study reports on the association of the CSF concentration of proinflammatory cytokines, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNFα, and major depressive disorders. CSF samples were obtained from 13 hospitalized patients with acute unmedicated severe depression and were compared with 10 control subjects. Compared to the control group, the depressed patient group had higher CSF concentrations of IL-1β, lower IL-6 and no change in TNFα. A positive correlation was found between serum IL-1β and the severity of depression. These results indicate a unique profile for CSF proinflammatory cytokines in acute depression. These findings merit further investigation and if replicated may possibly offer immunological treatment options for depression.

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