Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is an epidemic of global concern. According to the most recent estimates, released in November 2007, by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 33.2 million worldwide are living with HIV infection currently. Although the rates of infection appear to be decreasing, there are obviously immense implications for achieving improvements in HIV/AIDS treatment.
The functioning of natural killer (NK) cells, which are a major element of the innate immunity system and are involved in the body’s first line of defense against infections such as HIV, is decreased in both HIV and depression. A group of researchers who have previously found that stress and depression impair NK cell function and accelerate the course of HIV/AIDS are now publishing a new report in the May 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry.
In this study, they recruited both depressed and non-depressed HIV-infected women and studied the ex vivo effects of three drugs, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a substance P antagonist, and a glucocorticoid antagonist, on their NK cell activity. These drugs were selected because, as the authors state, each “affect[s] underlying regulatory systems that have been extensively investigated in both stress and depression research as well as immune and viral research.” The scientists found that the SSRI citalopram, and the substance P antagonist CP 96,345, but not the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486, increased NK cell activity. According to Dr. Dwight Evans, corresponding author of the article: “The present findings provide evidence that natural killer cell function in HIV infection may be enhanced by selective serotonin reuptake inhibition and also by substance P antagonism in both depressed and non-depressed individuals.”
John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, comments: “There has been growing evidence that the compromise of immune function associated with depression influences the outcomes of infectious diseases and cancer. Antidepressant treatments are beginning to be studied for their potential positive effects on immune function.” He adds that “the paper by Evans et al. suggests that antidepressant treatment may have positive effects on natural killer cell activity in cells isolated from individuals infected with HIV with and without depression. This type of bridge between the brain and the rest of the body deserves further attention.” Dr. Evans agrees, noting that “these findings begin to pave the way towards initiating clinical studies addressing the potential role of serotonergic agents and substance P antagonists in improving natural killer cell innate immunity, possibly delaying HIV disease progression and extending survival with HIV infection.”
Jayne Dawkins | alfa
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences