FEB 02, 2016 3:51 PM PST

Inflammation Can Cause Fatigue and Depression

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Although the body needs inflammation to fight off infections, this product of the innate immune system has been linked to many health problems when inflammatory molecules are released in excess. The newest study has connected inflammation as a side effect from a hepatitis C treatment to structural changes in the striatum, the reward center of the brain.
 
A transverse section of the striatum


Inflammation is known to increase the risk of depression, a relationship developed and exacerbated by certain behavior changes:
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of motivation
  • Reduced experience of pleasure
In a study of 23 patients with hepatitis C, researchers observed how each participant reacted to a treatment of interferon-alpha over several weeks. Interferon-alpha has been used in a clinical setting for over 16 years, successfully fighting infections by priming the immune response with cytokine regulation (Journal of Leukocyte Biology). The study was published in Biological Psychiatry.
 
Four hours after receiving the interferon-alpha treatment, the researchers could already see “microstructural changes” in the striatum, as compared to the striatum before treatment, using magnetization transfer imaging.
 
In the weeks following treatment, participants also reported fatigue and depression, especially between weeks 4 and 12. However, the impact of interferon-alpha appeared to be twofold, with both protective changes in structure and changes that increased the risk of fatigue visible in the striatum. No visible changes were directly linked to depression, though.
 
“The heterogeneous striatal response may suggest that fatigue and mood are supported by different microcircuits within the striatum,” explained Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, in response to the dual change. Scientists might soon be looking for structural changes in places in the brain other than the striatum to link back to the reports of depression.
 
 
Source: Elsevier
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 18, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use Disorder Linked to COVID Hospitalization
AUG 18, 2021
Cannabis Use Disorder Linked to COVID Hospitalization
People with a genetic predisposition to cannabis use disorder (CUD) are more likely to require hospitalization after con ...
AUG 23, 2021
Cancer
A Safe and Effective Combination Therapy for Advanced Cancer
AUG 23, 2021
A Safe and Effective Combination Therapy for Advanced Cancer
Immunotherapies are emerging as a promising strategy for the treatment of late-stage cancers which currently have m ...
AUG 31, 2021
Immunology
Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19 Doesn't Work
AUG 31, 2021
Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19 Doesn't Work
After encountering an infectious agent, the immune system begins churning out antibodies—Y-shaped warriors that ne ...
SEP 27, 2021
Cancer
Inflammation Promotes Pancreatic Cancer Progression
SEP 27, 2021
Inflammation Promotes Pancreatic Cancer Progression
Inflammation occurs when the immune response, including immune cells and mediators they produce, protect you from danger ...
SEP 27, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Newly Identified Cell Type is Linked to Chronic Skin Disorders
SEP 27, 2021
Newly Identified Cell Type is Linked to Chronic Skin Disorders
The chronic skin disease atopic dermatitis (AD) is estimated to affect about 15 percent of children worldwide, and for s ...
NOV 04, 2021
Immunology
The Coronavirus Infects Inner Ear Cells
NOV 04, 2021
The Coronavirus Infects Inner Ear Cells
An increasing number of COVID-19 patients have reported ear-related issues: ringing in the ear, hearing loss, and balanc ...
Loading Comments...