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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002 Sep;41(9):1054-60.

Immunity in adolescents with major depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103, USA.



The association between major depression (MD) and altered immunity appears to be age-related, with differing immune changes found in prepubertal children, young adults, and older adults. There is limited information concerning immunity in adolescents with MD.


Thirty-six otherwise healthy medication-free adolescents (aged 14-20; 23 female) from a community sample, meeting Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children DSM-III-R criteria for unipolar MD, were compared with 36 nondepressed adolescents matched by gender, age, and racial background. A battery of quantitative and functional immune measures was obtained.


MD adolescents had increased (p < .05) circulating lymphocytes and lymphocyte subsets; however, altered distribution of lymphocyte subsets was found only for activated T (HLA-DR+) cells (p < .004) and, possibly, natural killer (NK) (CD56+) cells (p < .06), each showing lower percentages in the MD adolescents. Concanavalin A (but not phytohemagglutinin or pokeweed mitogen) mitogen response was lower in the MD adolescents (p < .02). NK cell activity was elevated at higher effector-target ratios (p < .001), an effect not associated with the number of circulating CD56+ (NK) cells.


Depressed adolescents showed changes in immune measures that have been found to be altered in other MD groups, although the pattern of effects differs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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