Research Letter
January 2016

Inflammation and Specific Symptoms of Depression

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, England
  • 4Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

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JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1977

Elevated levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein, are well-documented in people with depression.1,2 Raison and Miller3 suggested that this association may, in fact, be symptom-specific. Higher levels of inflammation are particularly likely to underlie depression symptoms that characterize sickness behavior, including fatigue, reduced appetite, withdrawal, and inhibited motivation. From an evolutionary perspective, such symptoms have the beneficial effect of preserving energy resources for use in fighting infection and promoting healing processes.4,5 Here, we tested the hypothesis that the association between C-reactive protein and depression is symptom-specific.

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