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Immunoendocrine aspects of major depression. Relationships between plasma interleukin-6 and soluble interleukin-2 receptor, prolactin and cortisol.

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CRC-MH, Department of Psychiatry, AZ Stuivenberg, Antwerp, Belgium.


Recently, a complete bidirectional circuit between the immune and neuroendocrine systems has been documented. Previous reports from this laboratory have shown that there are complex reciprocal relationships between immune and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis function in major depression. To further examine the immune-endocrine relationships, this study investigates plasma baseline cortisol and prolactin secretion in relation to plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) and soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R) levels in 34 healthy controls and 56 major depressed patients. There were significant positive correlations between IL-6 or sIL-2R and plasma cortisol in major depressed subjects and in the combined group of major depressed and healthy subjects. There were also significant positive correlations between plasma prolactin and sIL-2R concentrations in major depressed subjects and in the combined groups of normal and major depressed subjects.

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