Wellness

A third of depressions are due to chronic inflammation

A new study from King’s College London reveals how inflammation affects the birth and death of brain cells and leads to depression in a third of sufferers. Reducing chronic inflammation helps prevent the onset and intensity of depression.

Mounting evidence indicates that chronically high levels of inflammation are an important biological abnormality leading to depression in at least a third of patients. This new study offers the first evidence that inflammation may increase the risk of depression by reducing the birth of new cells and accelerating the natural death of existing cells in the brain.

Using a research model made up of human brain cells, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences at King’s College examined the effects of a protein (interferon-alpha-IFN-α) capable of activating the immune system and induce depressive symptoms in healthy people.

Inflammation induces depression in the brain

Specifically, they investigated the impact on the brain cell formation process, called neurogenesis, which occurs in the hippocampus, a region of the brain strongly implicated in depression and the antidepressant response. Neurogenesis is normally reduced by depression and chronic stress, and this reduction induces the onset of depression. These new findings, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, show that IFN-α reduces the birth of new brain cells and increases brain cell death in the hippocampus. The researchers demonstrated this by altering the levels of four inflammatory proteins, which are known to activate depression-inducing brain functions.

Dr Alessandra Borsini, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, said: “This is the first published study demonstrating that inflammation can activate molecules in the hippocampus and induce depression. .

Reduce common causes of chronic inflammation

Pollution, unbalanced diet, overweight and obesity, infections, lack of sleep and exercise cause the body to react by defending itself through the most natural physiological process for it, inflammation. But if the inflammation protects and repairs the body punctually, when it is at work permanently, it becomes chronic and causes many physiological imbalances which will be the promoter of several chronic diseases: depression, diabetes, cancer, etc. .

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This morbid contribution of chronic inflammation also explains why a healthy diet, regular exercise, antioxidants and omega 3 are simple and effective ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer and significantly improve mood while decreasing the frequency and intensity of episodes of depression.

Source

Borsini, A et al. Interferon-Alpha Reduces Human Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Increases Apoptosis via Activation of Distinct STAT1-Dependent Mechanisms. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, October 2017 DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx083

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