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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004 Oct;29(9):1119-28.

Enhanced expression of cytokines and chemokines by blood monocytes to in vitro lipopolysaccharide stimulation are associated with hostility and severity of depressive symptoms in healthy women.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, P.O. Box 3328, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


The current study investigated the relation of hostility and severity of depressive symptoms, separately and jointly, to the capacity of blood monocytes to secrete an array of cytokines when stimulated by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Subjects were 44 healthy, non-smoking, premenopausal women (aged 23-49 years) not currently taking oral contraceptives. Data were collected during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. The Cook-Medley Hostility (Ho) scale and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were used to assess hostility and severity of depressive symptoms, respectively. Dual-color flow cytometry was used to measure the total expression of interleukin (IL)-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and monocyte inflammatory protein (MIP)-1alpha in blood monocytes following 4 h in vitro LPS stimulation of whole blood. In analyses adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), fasting cholesterol, alcohol use, race and 17beta-estradiol (E(2)), higher Ho scores were associated with greater LPS-stimulated expression of IL-1alpha (beta = 0.033, p = 0.02), IL-8 (beta = 0.046, p = 0.01) and IL-1beta (beta = 0.024, p = 0.06). Higher BDI scores were associated with greater expression of TNF-alpha (beta = 0.042, p = 0.02) and IL-8 (beta = 0.045, p = 0.04). The linear combination of Ho and BDI scores was significantly associated with IL-1beta (beta = 0.18, p = 0.057), IL-8 (beta = 0.36, p = 0.01), TNF-alpha (beta = 0.25, p = 0.03), and IL-1alpha (beta = 0.18, p < 0.07). Thus, in healthy women, these psychological risk factors, alone and in combination, induce a proinflammatory phenotype in circulating monocytes characterized by the up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines, supporting the hypothesis that inflammation may be a key pathway whereby hostility and depressive symptoms contribute to atherosclerosis and subsequent coronary heart disease (CHD).

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