Brasanac J, Ramien C, Gamradt S, Tänzer A, Glau L, Ritter K, Patas K, Agorastos A, Wiedemann K, Demiraley C, Fischer F, Otte C, Weygandt M, Gold SM.

Multiple neurobiological pathways have been implicated in the pathobiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). The identification of reliable biological substrates across the entire MDD spectrum, however, is hampered by a vast heterogeneity in the clinical presentation, presumably as a consequence of heterogeneous pathobiology. One way to overcome this limitation could be to explore disease subtypes based on biological similarity such as „inflammatory depression“. As such a subtype may be particularly enriched in depressed patients with an underlying inflammatory condition, multiple sclerosis (MS) could provide an informative disease context for this approach. Few studies have explored immune markers of MS-associated depression and replications are missing. To address this, we analyzed data from two independent case-control studies on immune signatures of MS-associated depression, conducted at two different academic MS centers (overall sample size of n=132). Using a stepwise data-driven approach, we identified CD4+CCR7lowTCM cell frequencies as a robust correlate of depression in MS. This signature was associated with core symptoms of depression and depression severity (but not MS severity per se) and linked to neuroinflammation as determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Furthermore, exploratory analyses of T cell polarization revealed this was largely driven by cells with a TH1-like phenotype. Our findings suggest (neuro)immune pathways linked to affective symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as MS, with potential relevance for the understanding of „inflammatory“ subtypes of depression. 

Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Dec 1;S0889-1591(21)00625-5.

Link to Pubmed