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Immune Phases Influence Depression

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Research published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry has outlined a new model for clinical depression that takes into account the dynamic role of the immune system. This neuroimmune interaction results in different phases of depression, and has implications for current treatment practices.

“Past research has shown that there are inflammatory mechanisms at work in depression,” explains Prof Bernhard Baune of the University of Adelaide. “But in the last 10 years there has been much research into the complexities of how the immune system interacts with brain function, both in healthy brains and in people experiencing depression.

“Unfortunately, much of the research is contradictory – and in asking ourselves why, we undertook a review of all the studies conducted to date on these issues. This has led us to the conclusion that there are different immune factors at work in depression depending on the clinical phase of depression, and that the genes for this immune response are switched on and off at different times according to phases.

“What we see in the clinical states of acute depression, relapse, remission and recovery is a highly complex interaction between inflammatory and other immunological cells, brain cells and systems.

“This new model helps us to overcome the simplistic notion that depression is the same...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.