Background: Major psychiatric disorders are associated with inflammation. Aberrant cytokine and chemokine levels have been associated with psychiatric disorders and suicidal behavior. We performed a meta-analysis of cytokine and chemokine levels in patients with versus without suicidality and patients with suicidality versus healthy controls.
Methods: We identified articles by searching MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge databases and the reference lists of identified studies.
Results: Study inclusion criteria were met by 18 studies comprising 583 patients with suicidality, 315 patients without suicidality, and 845 healthy control subjects. Levels of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 were significantly increased in blood and postmortem brain samples of patients with suicidality compared with both patients without suicidality and healthy control subjects (p < .05 for each). In vitro IL-2 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly decreased in patients with suicidality compared with both patients without suicidality and healthy controls (p < .01 for each). Cerebrospinal fluid levels of IL-8 were significantly decreased in patients with suicidality versus control subjects (p < .05).
Conclusions: We found evidence for aberrant cytokine levels in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and postmortem brain samples of patients with suicidality. Levels of IL-1β and IL-6 were most robustly associated with suicidality, and these cytokines may help distinguish suicidal from nonsuicidal patients. Rigorously designed longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate these associations further.
Keywords: Chemokines; Cytokines; Depression; Inflammation; Meta-analysis; Suicide.
Copyright © 2015 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.