Role of cytokines in atypical depression

Ho Kyoung Yoon, Yong Ku Kim, Heon Jeong Lee, Do Young Kwon, Leen Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atypical depression (AD) is considered a biologically and psychologically distinct subtype of depression. AD, contrary to melancholic depression (MD), may have different alteration in cytokine activity. Aims: We aimed to investigate the differences of cytokine activity between AD patients and MD patients. Among psychiatric patients visited to the Psychiatry Department, Korea University Medical Center, 105 patients with major depression who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) criteria based on clinical interviews using a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV were recruited. Among 105 patients, 35 patients had atypical feature. We measured in vitro cytokines (interleukins) IL-2, IL-4, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Results: Decreased IL-4 and increased IL-2 was observed in AD patients. IL-6 and TNF-α level of AD patients showed no difference from the controls. Conclusions: Contrary to MD, AD has reversed vegetative symptoms, i.e. hypersomnia and hyperphagia. It is assumed that the phenotype difference between AD and MD might be related to Th1 cytokines (IL-2) and Th2 cytokines (IL-4) and not related to monocytic cytokines (IL-6, and TNF-α).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements— This study was supported by a grant of the Korea Healthcare technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (A100930).


  • Atypical feature
  • Cytokine
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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