Depression Causes Lasting Physiological Alterations to Immunity Cells

April 26, 2022 13:16:46

New research has discovered a link between changes in the function and shape of immune cells, mechanical changes in blood cells and persistent depressive disorders. Depressive disorders are one of the primary causes of disability around the globe. Depression is known to cause an increase in the production of stress hormones, including glucocorticoids, as well as cause chronic low-grade inflammation. These effects can interfere with immune cell structure.

Persistent depressive disorder can impact an individual for a lifetime and is known to last for at least two years. The eye-opening study was carried out by Dr. Andreas Walther while working with TU Dresden’s Chair of biopsychology, Clemens Kirschbaum. Dr. Walther, who is the study’s lead author, has noted that it is important to advance psychological and biological therapies to help understand and treat depressive disorders more sustainably and efficiently in the long term.

The scientists carried out a cross-sectional, case-control study using a test to determine the ability of a cell to alter its shape based on changes in images of blood cells. They used blood samples obtained from healthy individuals. The study included 70 healthy controls and 69 individuals who had a heightened risk for depressive disorders.

Each participant underwent clinical evaluation using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. This internationally recognized clinical interview process is usually used to diagnose mental health disorders. The researchers then used an AI deep-learning technique to scan more than 16 million images of blood cells. These images were categorized into the primary types of blood cells and measured using parameters such as size of the cell as well as their ability to alter their shapes.

The researchers found that in comparison to cells in the control subjects, neutrophils, lymphocytes and monocytes were deformable in patients suffering from persistent depressive disorder. Monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils and lymphocytes are types of white blood cells that make up the immune system.

Dr. Jean Kim, an assistant psychiatry professor, was consulted about the study’s discovery. Kim stated that the findings suggest that deformability of blood cells was a marker of altered states of immune cells, which correlates with immune hyperactivity vs. hypoactivity. She noted that more studies needed to be conducted to understand the wider implications of depressive disorder on the immune system.

This study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Switzerland’s University of Zurich, the Max-Planck-ZentrumfürPhysik und Medizin Erlangen in Germany, the Max Planck Institutes for the Science of Light and the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden). Study findings were published in the “Translational Psychiatry” journal.

It is fortunate that companies such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) are working toward bringing to market psychedelic therapies targeting neurological indications, including major depression, PTSD and other such illnesses. These treatments could get the mental health crisis under control, or at least put the brakes on its proliferation.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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