Neuroimmune Biomarkers in Mental Illness

  • James W. Herron
  • Louis Nerurkar
  • Jonathan CavanaghEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 40)


Exploration of neuroimmune mechanisms is vital to the understanding of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of mental disorders. Inflammatory and immune mechanisms are increasingly understood to underpin a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, with an ever-expanding evidence base drawn from basic science to large-scale epidemiological data. Unravelling of these mechanisms should lead to biomarker discovery and potential new avenues for therapeutics that modulate immunological mechanisms. Identification of neuroimmune biomarkers is vital to improving diagnosis, stratification and treatment of mental disorders. There is an urgent clinical need for new therapeutic approaches with poor treatment response and treatment resistance a major problem for many psychiatric disorders including depression and schizophrenia. Neurodegenerative psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s also have clear neuroimmune underpinnings and manifest an urgent clinical need for improvements in diagnosis and research towards transformative disease-modifying treatments. This chapter provides some background on the role of the neuroimmune system in mental illness, exploring the role for biomarkers, in addition to reviewing the current state of knowledge in this exciting field. We also reflect on the inherent challenges and methodological pitfalls faced by research in this field, including the complexity of conceptualising multidimensional mental disorders and the dynamic shifting sands of the immune system.


BioMarkers Chemokine Cytokine Diagnosis Immune system Inflammation Mental disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Herron
    • 1
  • Louis Nerurkar
    • 2
  • Jonathan Cavanagh
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Health and WellbeingUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Institute of Infection, Immunity and InflammationUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Institute of Health and Wellbeing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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