High Frequency and Intensity of Drinking may Attenuate Increased Inflammatory Cytokine Levels of Major Depression in Alcohol-use Disorders

A newly published result based on data from Nepalese inpatients receiving treatment for alcohol-related problems show that depression in alcohol-dependent individuals is related to altered immune functioning. However, frequent and intense drinking could attenuate the raised levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the group with depression history. These results suggest the role of immune activation in depression disorder, but also an active interaction of alcohol-use severity in this relationship.


As major depression (MD) is often comorbid with alcohol-use disorders (AUD) and alcohol itself modulates the immune system, we examined serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interferon (IFN)-c in AUD patients with and without MD. Putative interactions between alcohol variables and MD on cytokine levels were also assessed.


A consecutive sample of inpatients with AUD (N = 176) from eight alcohol treatment centers in Kathmandu, Nepal, was assessed for alcohol use and depression by administering fully structured psychiatric interviews. Serum cytokine levels were determined using multiplex technology.


Alcohol-use disorders patients with a positive history of MD had higher levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6 (P = 0.019), TNF (P = 0.020), and IFN-c (P = 0.001), but not of IL-10 (P = 0.853). AUD patients with MD had higher concentrations of cytokines compared with those without, regardless of the severity of the alcohol problem, but the difference was greater among those drinking in lower frequency and intensity.


These findings provide evidence for altered functioning of the immune system in AUD patients with comorbid MD. However, frequent and intense drinking may attenuate the difference in the cytokine profiles between AUD patients with and without MD.

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  • Forfattere: Sudan P. Neupane, Lars Lien, Priscilla Martinez, Pål Aukrust, Thor Ueland, Tom E. Mollnes, Knut Hestad & Jørgen G. Bramness
  • Publisert online: CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, DOI: 10.1111/cns.12303 (3 Juli 2014)


Publisert 31. juli 2014 12:09 - Sist endret 31. juli 2014 12:09