Review

Journal of Neuroinflammation

, 10:43

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Neuroinflammation and psychiatric illness

  • Souhel NajjarAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, New York University School of MedicineNew York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Email author 
  • , Daniel M PearlmanAffiliated withGeisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeNew York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
  • , Kenneth AlperAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine
  • , Amanda NajjarAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, New York University School of Medicine
  • , Orrin DevinskyAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, New York University School of MedicineDepartment of Psychiatry, New York University School of MedicineNew York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Abstract

Multiple lines of evidence support the pathogenic role of neuroinflammation in psychiatric illness. While systemic autoimmune diseases are well-documented causes of neuropsychiatric disorders, synaptic autoimmune encephalitides with psychotic symptoms often go under-recognized. Parallel to the link between psychiatric symptoms and autoimmunity in autoimmune diseases, neuroimmunological abnormalities occur in classical psychiatric disorders (for example, major depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorders). Investigations into the pathophysiology of these conditions traditionally stressed dysregulation of the glutamatergic and monoaminergic systems, but the mechanisms causing these neurotransmitter abnormalities remained elusive. We review the link between autoimmunity and neuropsychiatric disorders, and the human and experimental evidence supporting the pathogenic role of neuroinflammation in selected classical psychiatric disorders. Understanding how psychosocial, genetic, immunological and neurotransmitter systems interact can reveal pathogenic clues and help target new preventive and symptomatic therapies.

Keywords

Neuroinflammation Psychoneuroimmunology Astrocyte Microglia Cytokines Oxidative stress Depression Obsessive-compulsive disorder Bipolar disorder Schizophrenia