Researchers at King’s College London made an exciting discovery.
They found that more people with depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), might have active immune systems than we thought before.
The immune system is our body’s defense against sickness. These researchers found a way to see if a person’s immune system might be linked to their depression.
This could help doctors better treat people with depression by using personalized treatments.
The findings were published in a scientific journal called Translational Psychiatry.
What We Knew Before This Research
Before this study, we knew that many people with depression have an activated immune system.
But researchers only focused on one part of the immune system – inflammation related proteins, like something called C-reactive protein (CRP).
Studies found that about 21 to 27 % of people with depression have an active immune response. But these studies were limited because they only looked at CRP levels.
The New Study and Its Results
The new study included 168 people from a research project called the Biomarkers in Depression Study. 128 of these people had depression. The researchers divided these people into three groups based on their CRP levels.
The researchers looked at the activity of 16 genes that play a part in the immune response. They found that these genes were more active in people with depression compared to people without depression. This was true even if their CRP levels were not high.
The researchers then looked at all the people in the study who had low CRP levels. This means they didn’t have any inflammation.
They found that people with depression still had higher activity of immune genes compared to those without depression.
What The Researchers Say About Their Findings
Professor Carmine Pariante, a senior researcher on the study, explained the importance of their findings. He said that their study shows that the immune response in people with depression is not just about CRP levels.
There are more people with depression who have an active immune response than we thought.
Dr. Luca Sforzini, another researcher in the study, talked about how these findings can help in the future.
People with depression who have changes in their immune system might not get better with usual depression medicines. They might need special treatments that target the immune system.
He hopes these findings will help us understand depression better. We can use this information to find better treatments for people who don’t get better with current depression medicines.
It shows us that there might be a link between the immune system and depression, even if we can’t see inflammation.
If you care about depression, please read studies about vegetarianism linked to a higher risk of depression, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.
For more information about mental health, please see recent studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and these antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.
The study was published in Translational Psychiatry.
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