Inflammation in psychiatric disorders: What comes first?

Moisés E. Bauer, Antonio L. Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations


Neuropsychiatric disorders (i.e., mood disorders and schizophrenia) and inflammation are closely intertwined, and possibly powering each other in a bidirectional loop. Depression facilitates inflammatory reactions and inflammation promotes depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Patients with neuropsychiatric disorders exhibit all cardinal features of inflammation, including increased circulating levels of inflammatory inducers, activated sensors, and inflammatory mediators targeting all tissues. Inflammation may contribute to the pathophysiology and clinical progression of these disorders. Of note, proinflammatory cytokines modulate mood behavior and cognition by reducing brain monoamine levels, activating neuroendocrine responses, promoting excitotoxicity (increased glutamate levels), and impairing brain plasticity. What are the sources of this chronic inflammation? Increasing evidence indicates that changes in neuroendocrine regulation, metabolism, diet/microbiota, and negative health behaviors are important triggers of inflammation. Finally, recent data indicate that early-life stress is associated with overt inflammation prior to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortisol
  • Cytokines
  • HPA axis
  • Inflammation
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychosocial stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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