The role of cytokines and hot flashes in perimenopausal depression
AuthorKaraoulanis, S. E.; Daponte, A.; Rizouli, K. A.; Rizoulis, A. A.; Lialios, G. A.; Theodoridou, C. T.; Christakopoulos, C.; Angelopoulos, N. V.
Background: An imbalance in the production of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines may play a role in the pathophysiology of perimenopausal depression. The aim of this study was to examine serum levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), and the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, in perimenopausal women suffering from depression. Furthermore, to assess whether serum cytokine levels are associated with the presence of hot flashes or the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). We also evaluated the possible association of hot flashes and perimenopausal depression. Methods: Serum samples from 65 perimenopausal women, 41 with depression and 24 without depression, were assessed for serum IL-6, TNF alpha and IL-10 by conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Depression was evaluated by the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D 17) and a psychiatric interview. The presence and severity of hot flashes were examined using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). Results: Serum levels cytokines did not differ between depressed women and normal controls. Serum levels of cytokines did not change significantly in depressed women with hot flashes or in depressed women treated with SSRIs. Hot flashes were strongly associated (P < 0.0001) with perimenopausal depression. Conclusion: The study supports the hypothesis that perimenopausal depression is not characterized by increased proinflammatory cytokines and decreased anti-inflammatory cytokines. Women with perimenopausal depression suffer from more severe and more frequent hot flashes than women without perimenopausal depression.