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Status of inflammation and alcohol use in a 6-month follow-up study of patients with major depressive disorder

Mari Archer, Onni Niemelä, Kaisa Luoto, Johanna Kultti, Mari Hämäläinen, Eeva Moilanen, Antti Koivukangas, Esa Leinonen, Olli Kampman
Alcohol 2019 February 12

INTRODUCTION: The studies on the relations between alcohol consumption, the status of inflammation and depression have produced conflicting results. In this study we followed patients with major depressive disorders by monitoring biomarkers of inflammation together with biomarkers of heavy alcohol use.

METHOD: The levels of IL-6 (interleukin-6), IL-8 (interleukin-8), hs-CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein), YKL-40 (also known as Chitinase-3-like protein 1 or CHI3L1) and biomarkers of alcohol consumption and liver status (GT, CDT, ALT, alkaline phosphatase) were measured at baseline and after 6 months of psychiatric treatment from 242 patients suffering from current major depressive disorder (MDD) with (n = 99) or without (n = 143) alcohol use disorder (AUD).

RESULTS: At baseline the patients with MDD + AUD showed higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 (p < 0.001), hs-CRP (p < 0.01), YKL-40 (p < 0.05), and biomarkers of alcohol consumption, than the corresponding group of non-AUD patients. These differences disappeared during follow-up and recovery from depression. The level of IL-8 decreased significantly in both AUD (p < 0.05) and non-AUD (p < 0.05) patients. During follow-up, the biomarkers of alcohol consumption, GT and CDT, in AUD patients were found to decrease in parallel with serum YKL-40 levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption appears to modulate the status of inflammation in depressive patients. A more systematic use of biomarkers of inflammation together with biomarkers of alcohol consumption and liver status may prove to be of value in a more comprehensive assessment and treatment of patients with depression.


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