Monday, December 23, 2013

Depression, suicide and inflammation

A rather technical abstract, but an important study about depression and suicidality. As you kay know, a major cause of sickness and aging turns out to be low-grade, systemic inflammation. Lyme disease (among other bacterial and microbial invaders of the body) can cause such low-level inflammation. Here's a brief summary of a scientific study linking inflammation andr suicide.

AnNeuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Apr;38(5):743-52. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.248. Epub

2012 Dec 3.


Connecting inflammation with glutamate agonism in suicidality.


Erhardt S, Lim CK, Linderholm KR, Janelidze S, Lindqvist D, Samuelsson M,

Lundberg K, Postolache TT, Träskman-Bendz L, Guillemin GJ, Brundin L.


Author information:

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm,



The NMDA-receptor antagonist ketamine has proven efficient in reducing symptoms of suicidality, although the mechanisms explaining this effect have not been detailed in psychiatric patients. Recent evidence points towards a low-grade inflammation in brains of suicide victims. Inflammation leads to production of quinolinic acid (QUIN) and kynurenic acid (KYNA), an agonist and antagonist of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, respectively. 

We here measured QUIN and KYNA in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 64 medication-free suicide attempters and 36 controls, using gas chromatography mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. We assessed the patients clinically using the Suicide Intent Scale and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). We found that QUIN, but not KYNA, was significantly elevated in the CSF of suicide attempters (P<0.001). 

As predicted, the increase in QUIN was associated with higher levels of CSF interleukin-6. Moreover, QUIN levels correlated with the total scores on Suicide Intent Scale. There was a significant decrease of QUIN in patients who came for follow-up lumbar punctures within 6 months after the suicide attempt. In summary, we here present clinical evidence of increased QUIN in the CSF of suicide attempters. An increased QUIN/KYNA quotient speaks in favor of an overall NMDA-receptor stimulation. The correlation between QUIN and the Suicide Intent Scale indicates that changes in glutamatergic neurotransmission could be specifically linked to suicidality. Our findings have important implications for the detection and specific treatment of suicidal patients, and might explain the observed remedial effects of ketamine.


PMCID: PMC3671988

PMID: 23299933  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments.