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Dissociative symptoms reflect levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha in patients with unipolar depression

Authors Bizik G, Bob P, Raboch J, Pavlat J, Uhrova J, Benakova H, Zima T

Received 19 June 2013

Accepted for publication 26 August 2013

Published 25 April 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 675—679


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Gustav Bizik,1 Petr Bob,1 Jiri Raboch,1 Josef Pavlat,1 Jana Uhrova,2 Hana Benakova,2 Tomas Zima2

1Center for Neuropsychiatric Research of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry and UHSL, 2Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Diagnostics, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract: Recent evidence indicates that the nature of interactions between the nervous system and immune system is important in the pathogenesis of depression. Specifically, alterations in pro-inflammatory cytokines have been related to the development of several psychological and neurobiological manifestations of depressive disorder, as well as to stress exposure. A number of findings point to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) as one of the central factors in these processes. Accordingly, in the present study, we test the hypothesis that specific influences of chronic stressors related to traumatic stress and dissociation are related to alterations in TNF-α levels. We performed psychometric measurement of depression (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI]-II), traumatic stress symptoms (Trauma Symptom Checklist [TSC]-40), and psychological and somatoform dissociation (Dissociative Experiences Scale [DES] and Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire [SDQ]-20, respectively), and immunochemical measure of serum TNF-α in 66 inpatients with unipolar depression (mean age 43.1 ± 7.3 years). The results show that TNF-α is significantly related to DES (Spearman R=−0.42, P<0.01), SDQ-20 (Spearman R=−0.38, P<0.01), and TSC-40 (Spearman R=−0.41, P<0.01), but not to BDI-II. Results of the present study suggest that TNF-α levels are related to dissociative symptoms and stress exposure in depressed patients.

Keywords: depression, dissociation, TNF-alpha, traumatic stress

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