Research based in Ireland noted significant correlation
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/01/2013 -- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors could well end up being uniquely linked to inflammatory markers within patients that have major depressive disorders (known as MDD), according to new research results.
A study that was conducted with over 122 adults in Ireland showed that those with MDD and high suicidal ideation had higher levels of inflammation. The study showed that this correlation was not found in either those with MDD and low suicidal ideation or those without MDD who were considered generally healthy.
In addition to those findings, inflammatory index scores did not differ highly between the latter two groups, as they did with the former group in relation to the latter groups.
"This suggests that inflammatory molecules may be playing a role in suicidal ideation," lead author Aoife O'Donovan, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, told Medscape Medical News.
"However, there's another side to this because we know that psychological stress can increase levels of these molecules. So it could be that feeling suicidal is activating a stress response and promoting the production of these cytokines," said Dr. O'Donovan, who was at the School of Medicine and Medical Sciences at University College Dublin in Ireland at the time of this study.
Still, "the findings suggest that further research on inflammation as a contributor to the pathophysiology of suicidal depression is warranted and could even yield novel adjunct treatments for MDD," write the investigators.
The 122 participants were enrolled from two hospitals located in Dublin. Of those participants, 74 were inpatients with MDD, while 48 were healthy volunteers who did not express symptoms or diagnosis of MDD.
Measures that were including involved the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression in order to assess depression severity and the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Instrument to determine level of suicidal ideation. Fasting samples were drawn from all participants to measure inflammatory markers.
"The underlying model for this paper was to gain a better understanding of how these molecules are acting in major depression," said Dr. O'Donovan.
Circulating levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol were also measured to assess hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis abnormalities.
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