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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2012; 12: 2.
Published online Jan 9, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-12-2
PMCID: PMC3266629
Elevated levels of serum IL-5 are associated with an increased likelihood of major depressive disorder
Antti-Pekka Elomaa,corresponding author1 Leo Niskanen,2 Karl-Heinz Herzig,1,3 Heimo Viinamäki,1 Jukka Hintikka,1 Heli Koivumaa-Honkanen,1,4,5 Kirsi Honkalampi,6 Minna Valkonen-Korhonen,1 Ilkka T Harvima,7 and Soili M Lehto1
1Department of Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital and University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
2Central Hospital of Central Finland, Jyväskylä, and University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
3Institute of Biomedicine, Division of Physiology and Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland
4Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
5Department of Psychiatry, Lapland Hospital District, Rovaniemi, Finland
6Kuopio Psychiatric Center, Kuopio, Finland
7Department of Dermatology, Kuopio University Hospital and University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Antti-Pekka Elomaa: apelomaa/at/; Leo Niskanen: leo.niskanen/at/; Karl-Heinz Herzig: Karl-Heinz.Herzig/at/; Heimo Viinamäki: Heimo.Viinamaki/at/; Jukka Hintikka: Jukka.Hintikka/at/; Heli Koivumaa-Honkanen: Heli.Koivumaa-Honkanen/at/; Kirsi Honkalampi: Kirsi.Honkalampi/at/; Minna Valkonen-Korhonen: minna.valkonen/at/; Ilkka T Harvima: ilkka.harvima/at/; Soili M Lehto: Soili.Lehto/at/
Received August 25, 2011; Accepted January 9, 2012.
Inflammatory mediators in both the peripheral circulation and central nervous system (CNS) are dysregulated in major depressive disorder (MDD). Nevertheless, relatively little is known about the role of the T-helper (Th)-2 effector cytokines interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 in MDD.
We examined the serum levels of these cytokines and a Th-1 comparison cytokine, interferon (IFN)-γ, in 116 individuals (MDD, n = 58; controls, n = 58).
In our basic multivariate model controlling for the effects of potential confounders on the associations between MDD and the examined cytokines, each 1-unit increase in the serum IL-5 level increased the likelihood of belonging to the MDD group by 76% (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.03-2.99, p = 0.04; model covariates: age, gender, marital status, daily smoking and alcohol use). The likelihood further increased in models additionally controlling for the effects of the use of antidepressants and NSAIDS, and a diagnosis of asthma. No such associations were detected with regard to IL-13 (OR 1.08, 95% CI 0.96-1.22, p = 0.22) or IFN-γ (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.99-1.05, p = 0.23).
Elevated levels of IL-5, which uses the neural plasticity-related RAS GTPase-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Ras-ERK) pathway to mediate its actions in the central nervous system (CNS), could be one of the factors underlying the depression-related changes in CNS plasticity.
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