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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012 Jun;14(3):220-8. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0272-0.

Systematic review of proinflammatory cytokines in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Several studies have examined levels of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. This meta-analysis was conducted to examine the association between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and plasma serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in IL-1β levels in OCD. No significant difference in plasma levels of IL-6 or TNF-α was demonstrated. Stratified subgroup analysis revealed possible moderating effects of age and medication use on IL-6 levels. Studies including children on psychotropic medication had lower plasma IL-6 levels. Stratified subgroup analysis revealed a moderating effect of comorbid depression on TNF-α levels. Elevated TNF-α levels were reported in studies that included individuals with comorbid depression. Future studies examining immune function in OCD should adjust for potential confounding due to medication use and comorbid depression. Further studies assessing cerebrospinal fluid cytokine levels in OCD are also needed.

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