Journal Article

Association between major depressive disorder and pro-inflammatory cytokines among HIV positive adults

Depression is found frequently with HIV/AIDS, but the reasons for this association are unclear.  An important question is the possible effect of immunological factors on depression.  In 201 persons with HIV/AIDS being seen in clinics in Uganda a study was mounted to address this issue. Information on depression was collected, and the diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) was based on DSM-IV criteria. The frequency of MDD was 30.8% in this population.  Laboratory data were collected and included Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).  The analysis controlled for study site, sex, age, and education. Odds of MDD increased as the level of IL-6 increased.  In a similar manner as the TNF-alpha increased the odds of MDD increased.  However, there was no indication that MDD was associated with the level of CRP.  The association of IL-6 and TNF-alpha with MDD suggests that a pro-inflammatory mechanism may be part of the explanation of the association.

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