Post-COVID-19 depression and serum interleukin 6 levels: A systematic review and meta-analysis of COVID-19 convalescents with and without depression

Homa Seyedmirzaei, Mahsa Faramarzpour, Amene Saghazadeh, Antônio L. Teixeira, Nima Rezaei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Depression is among the psychiatric sequelae of COVID-19, affecting more than 20% of the convalescents. Its underlying pathophysiology remains unclear. Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, plays a critical role in the COVID-19-associated cytokine storm, has been implicated in depressive disorders, and may thus be involved in post-COVID-19 depression. Methods: PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science were systematically searched for relevant studies assessing peripheral IL-6 levels in convalescents who developed depression after COVID-19 vs. convalescents who did not. Results: Five studies were included in our systematic review, and four entered the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis revealed that post-COVID people with de novo depression did not have statistically significant differences in IL-6 levels compared to those without depression (standardised mean difference (SMD) = 0.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) = −0.35, 0.54, p-value = 0.68). Conclusions: Although convalescents with depression did not have significantly higher IL-6 levels than convalescents without depression, the results should be interpreted considering the limited sample size and the low power of the included studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-821
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Biological Psychiatry
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Interleukin 6
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • depression
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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