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Psychiatry Res. 1988 Sep;25(3):243-51.

Neutrophilia and lymphopenia in major mood disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.


Alterations in peripheral blood leukocyte distribution in major depression, including lymphopenia, neutrophilia, eosinopenia, and monocytopenia, have been described. The present study was designed to replicate these results, but with methodological improvements, including age-, sex-, and race-matched control subjects; DSM-III and Research Diagnostic Criteria diagnoses based on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia interview; objective and subjective severity of depression measured quantitatively; and consideration of psychosocial stressors (DSM-III, Axis IV). We found relative lymphopenia and absolute neutrophilia and leukocytosis in depression, but did not find decreased numbers of eosinophils or monocytes. The relative lymphopenia and absolute neutrophilia were present in the subgroup of only unipolar depressed patients, but not in the bipolar, currently depressed subgroup. However, these blood cell changes were not found in a subgroup of patients who had been medication free greater than or equal to 1 month but only in the subgroup of patients using medication at the time of phlebotomy. Groups formed on the basis of psychosocial stress levels were not found to have significant significant intergroup differences in white blood cell (WBC) counts. The clinical significance of these findings needs study. While leukocytosis and neutrophilia can be found in major depression, these changes are perhaps secondary to medication use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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