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Cytokine production in major depressed patients before and after clomipramine treatment

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      Abstract

      Cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was assessed in 10 major depressed patients (5 men and 5 women) before and after 4 weeks of clomipramine treatment and in age- and gender-matched healthy controls. A significant reduction in interleukin-1B (IL-1B), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interleukin-3-like activity (IL-3-LA) was observed in untreated depressed patients when compared to controls. IL-1B and IL-3-LA synthesis was significantly increased after drug treatment. The suppression of cytokine production by PBMC in depressed patients may be attributed to the depression per se, or it may be related to depression-associated hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The mode of interaction between depression and cellular immune function and the mediators responsible for the reduced cytokine production need to be studied further.

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