Interferons, serotonin and neurotoxicity
by
Menkes DB, MacDonald JA
Dunedin School of Medicine,
University of Otago and Dunedin Hospital,
New Zealand.
Psychol Med 2000 Mar; 30(2):259-68


ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Interferons are a class of cytokines profoundly affecting immune function. Several interferons are now synthesized and used clinically, notably for viral diseases and cancer. In addition to their desired immune effects, interferons cause a number of toxicities, including prominent effects on the nervous system. METHODS: This literature review focused on the incidence of depression associated with interferon treatment. Possible neurochemical mechanisms and remedial strategies were also considered. RESULTS: Interferon treatment, particularly with the alpha subtype, is unquestionably linked with depression, but the strength of association is uncertain because of erratic ascertainment and pretreatment co-morbidity. A likely pathogenic mechanism has been described, involving interferon suppression of serotonin synthesis. Controlled treatment trials of interferon-induced depression are not yet available. CONCLUSIONS: Neurotoxicity substantially limits the use of interferons. At least some of the risk of depression appears to derive from their anti-serotonergic effects, consistent with the large body of evidence pointing to a general link between serotonin and affective illness. Vigilant detection and aggressive treatment of depression is necessary to optimize interferon treatment of many patients.
NSAIDs
Serotonin
Interferons
Depression
21st century
Cytokines and depression
Inflammation and depression
Depressive effect of cytokines
Cytokines, depression and antidepressants
An overactive immune system and depression
Cytokines and heart failure-induced anhedonia
Antidepressants, cytokines and mood disorders
Interferon alpha, depression, suicide, and paranoia
The immune system, depression and antidepressants


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