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Pro-inflammatory Cytokines, Childhood Trauma, and Neuropsychological Function in Adolescent Depression

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posted on 27.11.2018, 00:00 by Amy Peters
Pro-inflammatory cytokines have been linked to early childhood trauma and adversity, depression, and impairment in executive function and memory in adults. Whether these links are present during adolescence, a critical period of brain development, a point more proximal to childhood trauma, and when vulnerability to depression is heightened, is not well understood. Serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were measured in 71 un-medicated adolescents aged 12-17, including 40 with any mood disorder (AMD), a sub-set (n = 22) of whom reported a history of childhood trauma (AMD-T), and 31 healthy controls (HCs). Participants completed a neuropsychological assessment battery and the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, which were analyzed separately into dimensions of neuropsychological function and depression. IL-6 was elevated in AMD and AMD-T adolescents compared to controls and TNF-α was elevated in AMD participants only, whereas no group differences were found in IL-1β. Additionally, inflammation markers alone were associated with depressed mood and memory dysfunction in adolescents (IL-6), whereas inflammation markers interacted in at-risk, depressed and trauma-exposed teens, to predict somatic complaints (TNF-α) and executive function (IL-1β). The current results suggest that inflammation probes may contribute to early identification of risk for depression and neuropsychological dysfunction. This study also confers initial evidence for cytokine-specific patterns of mood disruption and cognitive dysfunction in adolescence, early in the course of illness.



Langenecker, Scott


Langenecker, Scott



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Committee Member

Mermelstein, Robin Shankman, Stewart Pandey, Ghanshyam West, Amy

Submitted date

August 2018

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