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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18102226

Diurnal Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Measures and Inflammatory Marker Correlates in Major Depressive Disorder

1
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Dublin 2, Ireland
2
Department of Psychiatry, Otto von Guerick University, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
3
Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Tallaght Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract

Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and inflammatory systems is a consistent finding in patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Cortisol is often assessed by measurement of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and/or diurnal cortisol levels. Some methods of cortisol measurement overestimate cortisol concentration due to detection of other glucocorticoids including the relatively inert cortisone, therefore this study aimed to assess the presence of both cortisol and cortisone, and the cortisol-cortisone catalyzing enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroiddehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), in depressed patients and controls. Because the HPA axis is known to regulate the body’s immune system, relationships between measures of cytokines and cortisol were also assessed. Saliva samples were collected from 57 MDD patients and 40 healthy controls at five post-wakening time points (0, +30, +60, +720 and +750 min). Glucocorticoid concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. Whole blood mRNA expression of several inflammatory markers was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This study replicated the common finding of elevated morning cortisol and reduced CAR reactivity in MDD and found no differences in cortisone or 11β-HSD1 mRNA measures. There was a negative association between interleukin 1-β (IL-1β) mRNA and morning cortisol reactivity within the depressed group, indicating that dysregulation of the HPA axis and immune system may be interconnected. View Full-Text
Keywords: major depressive disorder; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; immune system; cortisol awakening response; inflammation major depressive disorder; hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; immune system; cortisol awakening response; inflammation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Doolin, K.; Farrell, C.; Tozzi, L.; Harkin, A.; Frodl, T.; O’Keane, V. Diurnal Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Measures and Inflammatory Marker Correlates in Major Depressive Disorder. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2226.

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