Inflammatory cytokines and depression symptoms following hematopoietic cell transplantation

Ashley M. Nelson, Alexandra A. Erdmann, Christopher L. Coe, Mark B. Juckett, Keayra Morris, Jennifer M. Knight, Peiman Hematti, Erin S. Costanzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Increased synthesis and release of inflammatory signalling proteins is common among individuals with hematologic malignancies undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) due to intensive conditioning regimens and complications such as graft-versus-host-disease and infections. Prior research indicates that inflammatory responses can activate central nervous system pathways that evoke changes in mood. This study examined relationships between markers of inflammatory activity and depression symptoms following HCT. Individuals undergoing allogeneic (n = 84) and autologous (n = 155) HCT completed measures of depression symptoms pre-HCT and 1, 3, and 6 months post-HCT. Proinflammatory (IL-6, TNF-α) and regulatory (IL-10) cytokines were assessed by ELISA in peripheral blood plasma. Mixed-effects linear regression models indicated that patients with elevated IL-6 and IL-10 reported more severe depression symptoms at the post-HCT assessments. These findings were replicated when examining both allogeneic and autologous samples. Follow-up analyses clarified that relationships were strongest for neurovegetative, rather than cognitive or affective, symptoms of depression. These findings suggest that anti-inflammatory therapeutics targeting an inflammatory mediator of depression could improve quality of life of HCT recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Grants R21 CA133343 and K07 CA136966 from the National Cancer Institute to ESC, UL1TR002373 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), P30 CA014520 from the UWCCC, and an award from the Forward Lymphoma Foundation .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cytokines
  • Depression
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Inflammation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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