Natural killer cell activity in major depression: Relation to circulating natural killer cells, cellular indices of the immune response, and depressive phenomenology

Michael Maes*, Herbert Y. Meltzer, Wim Stevens, Joseph Calabrese, Paul Cosyns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Maes, Michael, Herbert Y. Meltzer, Wim Stevens, Joseph Calabrese and Paul Cosyns: Natural Killer Cell Activity: Relation to Circulating Natural Killer Cells, Cellular Indices of the Immune Response and Depressive Phenomenology. Prog. Neuro-Psychopharmacol. & Biol. Psychiat. 1994, 18:3 717-730. 1. Recently, blunted natural killer cell activity (NKCA) has been found in major depression. The present study investigates the relationships between ex vivo blunted NKCA in major depression, number or percentage of NKC, in vivo indices of systemic immune activation and depressive phenomenology. 2. Toward this end, NKCA, absolute number of leukocytes and number or percentage of lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, activated T lymphocytes (HLA-DR+, CD25+) and NKC (CD3-CD56+) were determined in 13 normal controls and 36 depressed inpatients. 3. NKCA was significantly and positively related to number and percentage of NKC in the peripheral blood. The major depression-related reduction in NKCA was not related to alterations in peripheral NKC. There were significant negative correlations between NKCA and number or percentage of leukocytes, monocytes, neutrophils and HLA-DR+ T cells. Up to 50% of the variance in NKCA could be explained by the regression on the number of monocytes, percentage of HLA-DR+ T and NKC cells, and diagnostic classification. Up to 43% of the variance in NKCA was explained by depressed mood, somatic anxiety and less diurnal variation. 4. The results show that blunted NKCA in major depression is not related to alterations in peripheral NKC, but reflects in part the systemic immune activation in that illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-730
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1994

Keywords

  • activated T cells
  • depression
  • leukocytosis
  • monocytosis
  • natural killer cell activity
  • neutrophilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry

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