Neuroplastic changes in depression: A role for the immune system

Harris Eyre, Bernhard T. Baune

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

247 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that there is a rich cross-talk between the neuroimmune system and neuroplasticity mechanisms under both physiological conditions and pathophysiological conditions in depression. Anti-neuroplastic changes which occur in depression include a decrease in proliferation of neural stem cells (NSCs), decreased survival of neuroblasts and immature neurons, impaired neurocircuitry (cortical-striatal-limbic circuits), reduced levels of neurotrophins, reduced spine density and dendritic retraction. Since both humoral and cellular immune factors have been implicated in neuroplastic processes, in this review we present a model suggesting that neuroplastic processes in depression are mediated through various neuroimmune mechanisms. The review puts forward a model in that both humoral and cellular neuroimmune factors are involved with impairing neuroplasticity under pathophysiological conditions such as depression. Specifically, neuroimmune factors including interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, CD4+CD25+T regulatory cells (T reg), self-specific CD4+T cells, monocyte-derived macrophages, microglia and astrocytes are shown to be vital to processes of neuroplasticity such as long-term potentiation (LTP), NSC survival, synaptic branching, neurotrophin regulation and neurogenesis. In rodent models of depression, IL-1, IL-6 and TNF are associated with reduced hippocampal neurogenesis; mechanisms which are associated with this include the stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/Janus Kinase (JNK) pathway, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF)-1α, JAK-Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) pathway, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) pathway, Ras-MAPK, PI-3 kinase, IKK/nuclear factor (NF)-κB and TGFβ activated kinase-1 (TAK-1).Neuroimmunological mechanisms have an active role in the neuroplastic changes associated with depression. Since therapies in depression, including antidepressants (AD), omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and physical activity exert neuroplasticity-enhancing effects potentially mediated by neuroimmune mechanisms, the immune system might serve as a promising target for interventions in depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1397-1416
Number of pages20
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume37
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Cellular
  • Depression
  • Humoral
  • Immune system
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Recovery
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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