Inflammation and Depression: A Public Health Perspective

Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Jul;95:1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.04.015. Epub 2021 Apr 18.


The multifaceted role of low-grade systemic inflammation in depression and physical illnesses like cardiovascular disease highlights complex interactions between the body, brain and mind. While current research on inflammation and depression has largely focused on exploring possible disease mechanisms and therapeutic potential, we seek to broaden the current discussion by introducing a public health perspective. In this Viewpoint, we propose that inflammation and its contributing sources could represent important targets for public health strategies aimed at improving both mental and physical health. We discuss potential universal, selective and indicated primary prevention strategies for inflammation-related depression. We consider potential approaches to secondary prevention, including scope for anti-inflammatory treatment and CRP testing for guiding treatment allocation and prognosis. Preventive strategies discussed here could also be relevant for other inflammation-mediated mental health conditions.

Keywords: Depression; Immunopsychiatry; Inflammation; Mental Health; Prevention; Public Health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Depression*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Prognosis
  • Public Health