Inoue, Ken Health Service Center, Kochi University, Kochi, Japan
Increasing evidence suggests that infection and persistent low-grade inflammation in peripheral tissues are important pathogenic factors in major depression. Major depression is frequently comorbid with systemic inflammatory diseases/conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, allergies of different types, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, diabetes, and cancer, in which pro-inflammatory cytokines are overexpressed. A number of animal studies demonstrate that systemic inflammation induced by peripheral administration of lipopolysaccharide increases the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in both the periphery and brain and causes abnormal behavior similar to major depression. Systemic inflammation can cause an increase in CNS levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with glial activation, namely, neuroinflammation, through several postulated pathways. Such neuroinflammation can in turn induce depressive moods and behavioral changes by affecting brain functions relevant to major depression, especially neurotransmitter metabolism. Although various clinical studies imply a causal relationship between periodontitis, which is one of the most common chronic inflammatory disorders in adults, and major depression, the notion that periodontitis is a risk factor for major depression is still unproven. Additional population-based cohort studies or prospective clinical studies on the relationship between periodontitis and major depression are needed to substantiate the causal link of periodontitis to major depression. If such a link is established, periodontitis may be a modifiable risk factor for major depression by simple preventive oral treatment.
Frontiers in Neuroscience