ASC provides a potential link between depression and inflammatory disorders: A clinical study of depressed Iranian medical students
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Background and aims AIM2 is a component of inflammasomes which can activate caspase-1 via an adaptor protein (ASC) after pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) or danger-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) recognition. Activation of caspase-1 is a trigger for the induction of IL-1 and IL-18 which are important pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, IL-1β, which can regulate inflammatory responses, has also been associated with depression. Previous studies revealed that patients suffering from depression may also have altered immune responses, but the mechanisms underlying this correlation are unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the mRNA levels of AIM2 and ASC in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from Iranian medical students suffering from depression. Materials and methods The participants used for the study included 38 Iranian medical students diagnosed with depression and 43 non-depressed students as a control group. The mRNA levels of AIM2 and ASC were evaluated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using β-actin as a housekeeping gene for the normalization of expression. Results The results showed that mRNA levels of AIM2 were similar in both groups. However, ASC levels were significantly increased in PBMCs isolated from individuals with elevated depressive symptoms when compared to non-depressed participants. Conclusions Based on the current results, it appears that ASC transcript expression may be a surrogate marker for depression and may represent a link between depression and the altered immune responses observed in these categories of individuals with elevated depressive symptoms.
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry