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Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Mar;69:540-547. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.02.001. Epub 2018 Feb 16.

Within-subject associations between inflammation and features of depression: Using the flu vaccine as a mild inflammatory stimulus.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, United States; Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States. Electronic address: krkuhlman@ucla.edu.
2
University of California Los Angeles, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.
3
Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States; University of California Los Angeles, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inflammation plays a role in mood and behavior that may be relevant to identifying risk factors and treatment for depression and other stress-related illnesses. The purpose of this study was to examine whether fluctuations in inflammation following a mild immune stimulus were associated with changes in daily reported features of depression for up to a week in a healthy sample of young adults.

METHODS:

Forty-one undergraduate students completed daily diaries of mood, feelings of social disconnection, sleep, and physical symptoms for one week before and after receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine. Circulating plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) was measured via blood samples taken immediately before and one day after vaccination.

RESULTS:

There was a significant increase in circulating IL-6 from pre- to post-intervention (p = .008), and there was significant variability in the magnitude of IL-6 change. Greater increases in IL-6 were associated with greater mood disturbance on post-vaccine days, specifically depressed mood and cognitive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS:

Minor increases in inflammation were associated with corresponding increases in features of depression, and these associations occurred in the absence of any physical symptoms. The influenza vaccine could be used to probe causal relationships with a high degree of ecological validity, even in high-risk and vulnerable populations, to better understand the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of depression.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; IL-6; Inflammation; Influenza vaccine; Interleukin-6; Mood; Sickness behavior

PMID:
29458196
PMCID:
PMC5857469
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbi.2018.02.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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