The surprising role that the immune system plays in the fight against depression

Scientists have discovered clues that show that certain cells of the immune system may play a role in addition to protecting against microbial invaders – protecting mental health.

In the study conducted by Yale, the cells of the immune system in the spinal fluid of patients with MS and healthy subjects were compared.

The results support an emerging theory that gamma interferons, a type of immune cell that helps induce and modulate a variety of immune system responses, may also play a role in preventing depression in people. sănătoase.

“I was also surprised that normal spinal fluid would be so interesting,” said David Hafler, William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly, a professor of neurology, professor of immunobiology and lead author of the study.

Previous research has shown that blocking gamma interferons and the T cells they produce can cause depression-like symptoms in some people.

Hafler notes that depression is also a common side effect in patients with MS treated with a different type of interferon.

Scientists have used a new technology that allows a detailed examination of individual cells.

With this help, the researchers were able to show that the T cells in the spine fluid of healthy people share similarities to those of MS patients.

However, in healthy people, cells lack the ability to replicate and cause harmful inflammation, a response seen in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

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