Is bipolar disorder an inflammatory condition? The relevance of microglial activation

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;26(1):19-26. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835aa4b4.


Purpose of review: Literature published over the past few years indicates that bipolar disorder has an inflammatory component but does not explicitly define bipolar disorder as an inflammatory or a noninflammatory condition.

Recent findings: Recent studies have shown that bipolar disorder involves microglial activation and alterations in peripheral cytokines and have pointed to the efficacy of adjunctive anti-inflammatory therapies in bipolar depression.

Summary: The presence of active microglia and increased proinflammatory cytokines in bipolar disorder suggests an important role of inflammatory components in the pathophysiology of the disease, as well as a possible link between neuroinflammation and peripheral toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allostasis / physiology
  • Bipolar Disorder / pathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*


  • Cytokines