Cytokines, “Depression Due to A General Medical Condition,” and Antidepressant Drugs

  • Raz Yirmiya
  • Joseph Weidenfeld
  • Yehuda Pollak
  • Michal Morag
  • Avraham Morag
  • Ronit Avitsur
  • Ohr Barak
  • 1]Avraham Reichenberg
  • Edna Cohen
  • Yehuda Shavit
  • Haim Ovadia
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 461)


Activation of the immune system during various medical conditions produces neural, neuroendocrine, and behavioral effects. The psychological and physiological effects of immune activation resemble many characteristics of depression. The essential features of depression are depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure in all, or almost all activities (anhedonia). Several associated symptoms are also present, including, appetite disturbance, change in body weight, sleep disturbance, psychomotor disturbance, fatigue, loss of energy, and difficulty in thinking or concentrating (DSM-IV, 1994). Depression is also characterized by specific alterations in the functioning of neurochemical and neuroendocrine systems, including monoaminergic systems and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (Brown, Steinberg, & van Praag, 1994; Holsboer, 1995). Most of these psychological and neuroendocrine symptoms appear both in humans and animals during diseases that involve immune activation. Based on these findings, and on several additional lines of evidence that will be presented below, we have recently argued that immune activation is involved in the etiology and symptomatology of depression associated with various medical conditions (Yirmiya, 1997).


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Multiple Sclerosis Depressive Symptom Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Depressed Patient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raz Yirmiya
    • 1
  • Joseph Weidenfeld
    • 2
  • Yehuda Pollak
    • 1
  • Michal Morag
    • 1
  • Avraham Morag
    • 3
  • Ronit Avitsur
    • 1
  • Ohr Barak
    • 1
  • 1]Avraham Reichenberg
  • Edna Cohen
    • 1
  • Yehuda Shavit
    • 1
  • Haim Ovadia
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Mount ScopusThe Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Departments of NeurologyHadassah-Hebrew University HospitalEin Karem, JerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Clinical VirologyHadassah-Hebrew University HospitalEin Karem, JerusalemIsrael

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