Major Depression and Activation of The Inflammatory Response System

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 461)


Contemporary models of major depression emphasize the role of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis hyperactivity and of dysfunctions in the turnover of serotonin (5-HT) or catecholamines in the etiopathogenesis of major depression. Contemporary models of major depression do not incorporate the effects of the inflammatory response system (IRS), even though the IRS powerfully influences HPA-axis activity, 5-HT and catecholaminergic turnover and even though activation of the IRS may induce depression-like behavior in animals and humans. There is now evidence that major depression is accompanied by a moderate activation of the IRS (reviews: Maes, 1993; 1995; 1997; Maes, Smith, & Scharpe, 1995c; Holden, Pakula, & Mooney, 1997; Maes & Smith, 1997; Connor & Leonard, 1998; Maier & Watkins, 1998). In this paper we propose a concise IRS model of major depression.


Proinflammatory Cytokine Major Depression Cholesteryl Ester Acute Phase Protein Acute Phase Response 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Research Center for Mental Health (CRC-MH) AntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Istituto FatebenefratelliIRCCSBresciaItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryVanderbilt UniversityNashville

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