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Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital | Ringel K.,Immunologischen Laboratorien | Kubera M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Berk M.,Deakin University
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2012

Background: Depression is characterized by inflammation and cell-mediated immune (CMI) activation and autoimmune reactions directed against a multitude of self-epitopes. There is evidence that the inflammatory response in depression causes dysfunctions in the metabolism of 5-HT, e.g. lowering the 5-HT precursor tryptophan, and upregulating 5-HT receptor mRNA. This study has been undertaken to examine autoimmune activity directed against 5-HT in relation to CMI activation and inflammation. Methods: 5-HT antibodies were examined in major depressed patients (n = 109) versus normal controls (n = 35) in relation to serum neopterin and lysozyme, and plasma pro-inflammatory cytokines (PIC), i.e. interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα). Severity of depression was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and severity of fatigue and somatic symptoms with the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FF) Rating Scale. Results: The incidence of anti-5-HT antibody activity was significantly higher in depressed patients (54.1%), and in particular in those with melancholia (82.9%), than in controls (5.7%). Patients with positive 5-HT antibodies showed increased serum neopterin and lysozyme, and plasma TNFα and IL-1; higher scores on the HDRS and FF scales, and more somatic symptoms, including malaise and neurocognitive dysfunctions. There was a significant association between autoimmune activity to 5-HT and the number of previous depressive episodes. Discussion: The autoimmune reactions directed against 5-HT might play a role in the pathophysiology of depression and the onset of severe depression. The strong association between autoimmune activity against 5-HT and inflammation/CMI activation is explained by multiple, reciprocal pathways between these factors. Exposure to previous depressive episodes increases the incidence of autoimmune activity directed against 5-HT, which in turn may increase the likelihood to develop new depressive episodes. These findings suggest that sensitization (kindling) and staging of depression are in part based on progressive autoimmune responses. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Morris G.,Tir Na Nog | Maes M.,Maes Clinics at TRIA | Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital
Metabolic Brain Disease | Year: 2013

This paper proposes a neuro-immune model for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). A wide range of immunological and neurological abnormalities have been reported in people suffering from ME/CFS. They include abnormalities in proinflammatory cytokines, raised production of nuclear factor-κB, mitochondrial dysfunctions, autoimmune responses, autonomic disturbances and brain pathology. Raised levels of oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), together with reduced levels of antioxidants are indicative of an immuno-inflammatory pathology. A number of different pathogens have been reported either as triggering or maintaining factors. Our model proposes that initial infection and immune activation caused by a number of possible pathogens leads to a state of chronic peripheral immune activation driven by activated O&NS pathways that lead to progressive damage of self epitopes even when the initial infection has been cleared. Subsequent activation of autoreactive T cells conspiring with O&NS pathways cause further damage and provoke chronic activation of immuno-inflammatory pathways. The subsequent upregulation of proinflammatory compounds may activate microglia via the vagus nerve. Elevated proinflammatory cytokines together with raised O&NS conspire to produce mitochondrial damage. The subsequent ATP deficit together with inflammation and O&NS are responsible for the landmark symptoms of ME/CFS, including post-exertional malaise. Raised levels of O&NS subsequently cause progressive elevation of autoimmune activity facilitated by molecular mimicry, bystander activation or epitope spreading. These processes provoke central nervous system (CNS) activation in an attempt to restore immune homeostatsis. This model proposes that the antagonistic activities of the CNS response to peripheral inflammation, O&NS and chronic immune activation are responsible for the remitting-relapsing nature of ME/CFS. Leads for future research are suggested based on this neuro-immune model. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Anderson G.,CRC | Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital
Metabolic Brain Disease | Year: 2012

This paper reviews melatonin as an overlooked factor in the developmental etiology and maintenance of schizophrenia; the neuroimmune and oxidative pathophysiology of schizophrenia; specific symptoms in schizophrenia, including sleep disturbance; circadian rhythms; and side effects of antipsychotics, including tardive dyskinesia and metabolic syndrome. Electronic databases, i.e. PUBMED, Scopus and Google Scholar were used as sources for this review using keywords: schizophrenia, psychosis, tardive dyskinesia, antipsychotics, metabolic syndrome, drug side effects and melatonin. Articles were selected on the basis of relevance to the etiology, course and treatment of schizophrenia. Melatonin levels and melatonin circadian rhythm are significantly decreased in schizophrenic patients. The adjunctive use of melatonin in schizophrenia may augment the efficacy of antipsychotics through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects. Further, melatoninwould be expected to improve sleep disorders in schizophrenia and side effects of anti-psychotics, such as tardive dyskinesia, metaboilic syndrome and hypertension. It is proposed that melatonin also impacts on the tryptophan catabolic pathway via its effect on stress response and cortisol secretion, thereby impacting on cortex associated cognition, amygdala associated affect and striatal motivational processing. The secretion of melatonin is decreased in schizophrenia, contributing to its etiology, pathophysiology and management. Melatonin is likely to have impacts on the metabolic side effects of anti-psychotics that contribute to subsequent decreases in life-expectancy. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.


Depression is a complex progressive disorder accompanied by activation of inflammatory and Th-1 driven pathways, oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), lowered antioxidant levels, mitochondrial dysfunctions, neuroprogression and increased bacterial translocation. In depression, activation of immuno-inflammatory pathways is associated with an increased risk for cardio-vascular disorder (CVD). Because of the inflammatory component, the use of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors, such as celecoxib, has been advocated to treat depression. Electronic databases, i.e. PUBMED, Scopus and Google Scholar were used as sources for this selective review on the effects of COX-2 inhibitors aggravating the abovementioned pathways. COX-2 inhibitors may induce neuroinflammation, exacerbate Th1 driven responses, increase lipid peroxidation, decrease the levels of key antioxidants, damage mitochondria and aggravate neuroprogression. COX-2 inhibitors may aggravate bacterial translocation and CVD through Th1-driven mechanisms. COX-2 inhibitors may aggravate the pathophysiology of depression. Since Th1 and O&NS pathways are risk factors for CVD, the use of COX-2 inhibitors may further aggravate the increased risk for CVD in depression. Selectively targeting COX-2 may not be a viable therapeutic approach to treat depression. Multi-targeting of the different pathways that play a role in depression is more likely to yield good treatment results. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.


Background: In a recently published paper, Harvey and Wessely put forward a 'biopsychosocial' explanatory model for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), which is proposed to be applicable to (chronic) fatigue even when apparent medical causes are present.Methods: Here, we review the model proposed by Harvey and Wessely, which is the rationale for behaviourally oriented interventions, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET), and compare this model with a biological model, in which inflammatory, immune, oxidative and nitrosative (IO&NS) pathways are key elements.Discussion: Although human and animal studies have established that the pathophysiology of ME/CFS includes IO&NS pathways, these abnormalities are not included in the model proposed by Harvey and Wessely. Activation of IO&NS pathways is known to induce fatigue and somatic (F&S) symptoms and can be induced or maintained by viral and bacterial infections, physical and psychosocial stressors, or organic disorders such as (auto)immune disorders. Studies have shown that ME/CFS and major depression are both clinical manifestations of shared IO&NS pathways, and that both disorders can be discriminated by specific symptoms and unshared or differentiating pathways. Interventions with CBT/GET are potentially harmful for many patients with ME/CFS, since the underlying pathophysiological abnormalities may be intensified by physical stressors.Conclusions: In contrast to Harvey and Wessely's (bio)psychosocial model for ME/CFS a bio(psychosocial) model based upon IO&NS abnormalities is likely more appropriate to this complex disorder. In clinical practice, we suggest physicians should also explore the IO&NS pathophysiology by applying laboratory tests that examine the pathways involved. © 2010 Maes and Twisk; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Moylan S.,Deakin University | Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital | Wray N.R.,University of Queensland | Berk M.,Deakin University | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2013

In some patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), individual illness characteristics appear consistent with those of a neuroprogressive illness. Features of neuroprogression include poorer symptomatic, treatment and functional outcomes in patients with earlier disease onset and increased number and length of depressive episodes. In such patients, longer and more frequent depressive episodes appear to increase vulnerability for further episodes, precipitating an accelerating and progressive illness course leading to functional decline. Evidence from clinical, biochemical and neuroimaging studies appear to support this model and are informing novel therapeutic approaches. This paper reviews current knowledge of the neuroprogressive processes that may occur in MDD, including structural brain consequences and potential molecular mechanisms including the role of neurotransmitter systems, inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways, neurotrophins and regulation of neurogenesis, cortisol and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis modulation, mitochondrial dysfunction and epigenetic and dietary influences. Evidence-based novel treatments informed by this knowledge are discussed. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital | Twisk F.N.M.,Me Of Patinten Foundation | Ringel K.,Immunologische Laboratorien
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics | Year: 2012

Background: Depression is an inflammatory disorder while many authors declare myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) to be a functional disorder. The aim of the present study is to compare inflammatory and cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses between depression and ME/CFS. Methods: We measured two proinflammatory cytokines (PICs) in plasma, interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and serum neopterin with a radioimmunoassay in controls, ME/CFS and depressive patients. Results: Plasma PICs were significantly higher in ME/CFS than in depression and higher in both patient groups than in controls. Increased PIC levels in depression were attributable to the presence of fatigue and physio-somatic symptoms. Serum neopterin did not differ significantly between depression and ME/CFS but was higher in both patient groups than in controls. The significant positive correlations between neopterin and either IL-1 or TNF-α were significantly greater in depression than in ME/CFS. Conclusions: Since PICs cause depression-like behaviors and fatigue/malaise, we suggest that inflammation may play a role in the pathophysiology of ME/CFS and depression. Increased neopterin also seems to contribute to the pathophysiology of both disorders. This study has detected a shared 'pathway phenotype', i.e. disorders in inflammatory and CMI pathways, which underpins both ME/CFS and depression and, therefore, may explain the co-occurrence of both disorders. ME/CFS and depression are discriminated from each other by increased PICs in ME/CFS and differences in the immune cell communication networks. © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital | Mihaylova I.,Foundation Biological Psychiatry | Kubera M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Leunis J.-C.,Laboratoire Ategis | Geffard M.,Association Institute for Research and Development in Human Pathology and Therapy
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2011

Background: There is evidence that depression is accompanied by oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), as indicated by increased free radical levels, lipid peroxidation, and lowered antioxidant levels. The aims of the present study are to examine whether depression is accompanied by autoimmune responses directed against a) neoepitopes that are formed following O&NS damage; and b) the major anchorage molecules, i.e. palmitic and myristic acids and S-farnesyl-l-cysteine. Methods: We examined serum IgM antibodies to the conjugated fatty acids, palmitic and myristic acids; acetylcholine; S-farnesyl-l-cysteine; and NO-modified adducts in 26 depressed patients and 17 normal controls. Severity of depression was measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and severity of fatigue and somatic (F&S) symptoms with the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FF) Rating Scale. Results: The prevalences and mean values for the serum IgM levels directed against conjugated palmitic and myristic acids, acetylcholine, S-farnesyl-l-cysteine; and the conjugated NO adducts, NO-tyrosine, NO-phenylalanine, NO-aspartate, NO-histidine, and NO-creatine were significantly higher in depressed patients than in normal controls. The autoimmune responses were significantly related to FF symptoms, such as fatigue and a flu-like malaise, whereas the indicants of nitrosative stress were related to gastro-intestinal and autonomic symptoms. Discussion: Depression is characterized by IgM-related autoimmune responses directed against a) neoepitopes that are normally not detected by the immune system but that due to damage by O&NS have become immunogenic; and b) anchorage epitopes, i.e. palmitic and myristic acids, and S-farnesyl-l-cysteine. These autoimmune responses play a role in the inflammatory and O&NS pathophysiology of depression and may mediate the cellular dysfunctions that contribute to neuroprogression, e.g. aberrations in signal transduction, cellular differentiation and apoptosis. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Maes M.,Piyavate Hospital | Twisk F.N.M.,Me Of Patienten Foundation | Kubera M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Ringel K.,Immunologische Laboratorien
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2012

Background: There is evidence that inflammatory pathways and cell-mediated immunity (CMI) play an important role in the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Activation of inflammatory and CMI pathways, including increased levels of cytokines, is known to induce fatigue and somatic symptoms. Given the broad spectrum inflammatory state in ME/CFS, the aim of this study was to examine whether inflammatory and CMI biomarkers are increased in individuals with ME/CFS. Methods: In this study we therefore measured plasma interleukin-(IL)1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, and PMN-elastase, and serum neopterin and lysozyme in 107 patients with ME/CFS, 37 patients with chronic fatigue (CF), and 20 normal controls. The severity of ME/CFS was measured with the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FF) Rating Scale. Results: Serum IL-1, TNFα, neopterin and lysozyme are significantly higher in patients with ME/CFS than in controls and CF patients. Plasma PMN-elastase is significantly higher in patients with ME/CFS than in controls and CF patients and higher in the latter than in controls. Increased IL-1 and TNFα are significantly correlated with fatigue, sadness, autonomic symptoms, and a flu-like malaise; neopterin is correlated with fatigue, autonomic symptoms, and a flu-like malaise; and increased PMN-elastase is correlated with concentration difficulties, failing memory and a subjective experience of infection. Conclusions: The findings show that ME/CFS is characterized by low-grade inflammation and activation of CMI. The results suggest that characteristic symptoms of ME/CFS, such as fatigue, autonomic symptoms and a flu-like malaise, may be caused by inflammatory mediators, e.g. IL-1 and TNFα. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


There is much debate on the diagnostic classification of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and chronic fatigue (CF). Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is stressed as a key feature. This study examines whether CF and CFS, with and without PEM, are distinct diagnostic categories.Fukuda's criteria were used to diagnose 144 patients with chronic fatigue and identify patients with CFS and CF, i.e. those not fulfilling the Fukuda's criteria. PEM was rated by means of a scale with defined scale steps between 0 and 6. CFS patients were divided into those with PEM lasting more than 24. h (labeled: ME) and without PEM (labeled: CFS). The 12-item Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FF) Rating Scale was used to measure severity of illness. Plasma interleukin-1 (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, and lysozyme, and serum neopterin were employed as external validating criteria.Using fatigue, a subjective feeling of infection and PEM we found that ME, CFS, and CF were distinct categories. Patients with ME had significantly higher scores on concentration difficulties and a subjective experience of infection, and higher levels of IL-1, TNFα, and neopterin than patients with CFS. These biomarkers were significantly higher in ME and CFS than in CF patients. PEM loaded highly on the first two factors subtracted from the data set, i.e. "malaise-sickness" and "malaise-hyperalgesia".Fukuda's criteria are adequate to make a distinction between ME/CFS and CF, but ME/CFS patients should be subdivided into ME (with PEM) and CFS (without PEM). © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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