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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • inflammation;
  • leaky gut;
  • cytokines;
  • LPS;
  • oxidative stress;
  • chronic fatigue

Maes M, Kubera M, Leunis J-C, Berk M, Geffard M, Bosmans E. In depression, bacterial translocation may drive inflammatory responses, oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), and autoimmune responses directed against O&NS-damaged neoepitopes.

Objective: Depression is accompanied by activation of immuno-inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative stress (IO&NS) pathways, and increased IgM/IgA responses to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of gram-negative commensal bacteria. The latter suggests that bacterial translocation has caused IgM/IgA responses directed against LPS. Bacterial translocation may drive IO&NS responses.

Method: To examine the associations between IgM/IgA responses to LPS and IO&NS measurements, including plasma/serum interleukin-1 (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, neopterin, lysozyme, oxidized LDL (oxLDL) antibodies, peroxides, and IgM (auto)immune responses against malondialdehyde (MDA), azelaic acid, phophatidyl inositol (Pi), NO-tryptophan and NO-tyrosine in depressed patients and controls.

Results: We found significant positive associations between IgM/IgA responses to LPS and oxLDL antibodies, IgM responses against MDA, azelaic acid, Pi, NO-tryptophan, and NO-tyrosine. The IgA responses to LPS were correlated with lysozyme. There were no significant positive correlations between the IgM/IgA responses to LPS and IL-1 and neopterin.

Conclusion: The findings show that in depression there is an association between increased bacterial translocation and lysozyme production, an antibacterial compound, O&NS processes, and autoimmune responses directed against O&NS generated neoantigenic determinants. It is suggested that bacterial translocation may drive IO&NS pathways in depression and thus play a role in its pathophysiology.