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August 1987

Affective Disorder and Viral Infections

Author Affiliations

Center for Viral Diseases Inc Northridge, CA 91325
Basic and Clinical Immunology and Microbiology Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425
School of Medicine University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90033

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(8):760. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800200088015

To the Editor.—  We were interested in the fact that 36 (90%) of the 40 patients described by DeLisi and colleagues1 had bipolar depression. In our own studies, we have found that in bipolar depression, levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus tend to be reduced, and even to vanish, during the suprathymic phase, only to reappear during the depressive phase. This includes not only antibodies obtained while acute physical symptoms are present but also antibodies obtained during convalescence, which should be detectable throughout the lifetime of a seropositive person, indicating impaired immune function. The attenuation of antibody levels may occur during spontaneous elevation of mood or can occur in conjunction with mood elevation that is induced by a direct stimulant, eg, benzphetamine hydrochloride. Given the significant level of anti—early antigen antibodies found by DeLisi et al, it would be worth knowing whether most of their patients were depressed