Past Issues

Cytokines and Major Psychiatric Disorders

Ting-Ting Chang, Yung-Chieh Yen

Background: Severe mental disorders are chronic, recurrent and usually
combined chronic physical illness. The pathophysiology of mental disorder still
remains a mystery. Convincing evidence supports that cytokines play an integral
role in the pathophysiology of certain psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia,
major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Method: In this comprehensive
overview, we reviewed all available published articles on the topic of cytokines
and major psychiatric disorders. Results: Cytokine are generally known as
chemical messengers between immune cells. As such, they play a crucial role in
mediating infl ammatory and immune responses. Cytokines can signal the brain
and serve as a mediators between immune and nerve cells.The brain is now seen
as capable of infl uencing immune processes. Conversely, changes in brain activity
can occur in association with an immunologic response. Cytokines can act as neuromodulators
within the brain. Therefore, cytokines can affect important brain activities
such as sleep, appetite, and neuroedocrine regulation. Conclusion: Discoveries
about these processes have led to speculations about a possible link between
cytokines and psychopathology. If we could identify the immunologic defects in
psychiatric disorders, novel treatment strategies involving cytokines and/or cytokine
inhibitors would be designed and tried clinically in the future.
Key Word Cytokine, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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