Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 36
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Cattaneo, Annamaria Ferrari, Clarissa Uher, Rudolf Bocchio-Chiavetto, Luisella Riva, Marco Andrea and Pariante, Carmine M. 2016. Absolute Measurements of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Interleukin-1-β mRNA Levels Accurately Predict Treatment Response in Depressed Patients. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, p. pyw045.

    Liu, Celina S. Adibfar, Alexander Herrmann, Nathan Gallagher, Damien and Lanctôt, Krista L. 2016.

    Al-Hakeim, Hussein Kadhem Al-Rammahi, Duaa Abdulzahraa and Al-Dujaili, Arafat Hussein 2015. IL-6, IL-18, sIL-2R, and TNFα proinflammatory markers in depression and schizophrenia patients who are free of overt inflammation. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 182, p. 106.

    Allison, David J. and Ditor, David S. 2015. Targeting inflammation to influence mood following spinal cord injury: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Neuroinflammation, Vol. 12, Issue. 1,

    Cattaneo, Annamaria Macchi, Flavia Plazzotta, Giona Veronica, Begni Bocchio-Chiavetto, Luisella Riva, Marco Andrea and Pariante, Carmine Maria 2015. Inflammation and neuronal plasticity: a link between childhood trauma and depression pathogenesis. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Vol. 9,

    Furtado, Melissa and Katzman, Martin A. 2015. Neuroinflammatory pathways in anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Psychiatry Research, Vol. 229, Issue. 1-2, p. 37.

    Furtado, Melissa and Katzman, Martin A. 2015. Examining the role of neuroinflammation in major depression. Psychiatry Research, Vol. 229, Issue. 1-2, p. 27.

    Haapakoski, Rita Mathieu, Julia Ebmeier, Klaus P. Alenius, Harri and Kivimäki, Mika 2015. Cumulative meta-analysis of interleukins 6 and 1β, tumour necrosis factor α and C-reactive protein in patients with major depressive disorder. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol. 49, p. 206.

    Horowitz, Mark A. and Zunszain, Patricia A. 2015. Neuroimmune and neuroendocrine abnormalities in depression: two sides of the same coin. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1351, Issue. 1, p. 68.

    Martin-Santos, Rocio Egmond, Elfi Cavero, Myriam Mariño, Zoe Subira, Susana Navines, Ricard Forns, Xavier and Valdes, Manuel 2015. Chronic hepatitis C, depression and gender: a state of art. Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 8, Issue. 4, p. 193.

    Toben, Catherine and Baune, Bernhard T. 2015. An Act of Balance Between Adaptive and Maladaptive Immunity in Depression: a Role for T Lymphocytes. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, Vol. 10, Issue. 4, p. 595.

    Allison, David J and Ditor, David S 2014. The common inflammatory etiology of depression and cognitive impairment: a therapeutic target. Journal of Neuroinflammation, Vol. 11, Issue. 1,

    Epstein, Irvin Szpindel, Isaac and Katzman, Martin A. 2014. Pharmacological approaches to manage persistent symptoms of major depressive disorder: rationale and therapeutic strategies. Psychiatry Research, Vol. 220, p. S15.

    Krieger, Stephen Sorrells, Shawn F. Nickerson, Molly and Pace, Thaddeus W.W. 2014. Mechanistic insights into corticosteroids in multiple sclerosis: War horse or chameleon?☆. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, Vol. 119, p. 6.

    Pawlowski, Tomasz Radkowski, Marek Małyszczak, Krzysztof Inglot, Małgorzata Zalewska, Małgorzata Jablonska, Joanna and Laskus, Tomasz 2014. Depression and neuroticism in patients with chronic hepatitis C: Correlation with peripheral blood mononuclear cells activation. Journal of Clinical Virology, Vol. 60, Issue. 2, p. 105.

    Sotelo, Jorge Luis Musselman, Dominique and Nemeroff, Charles 2014. The biology of depression in cancer and the relationship between depression and cancer progression. International Review of Psychiatry, Vol. 26, Issue. 1, p. 16.

    Burnet, Philip W.J. and Cowen, Philip J. 2013. Psychobiotics Highlight the Pathways to Happiness. Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 74, Issue. 10, p. 708.

    Dean, B Gibbons, A S Tawadros, N Brooks, L Everall, I P and Scarr, E 2013. Different changes in cortical tumor necrosis factor-α-related pathways in schizophrenia and mood disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, Vol. 18, Issue. 7, p. 767.

    Felger, J.C. and Lotrich, F.E. 2013. Inflammatory cytokines in depression: Neurobiological mechanisms and therapeutic implications. Neuroscience, Vol. 246, p. 199.

    Skobowiat, C. Sayre, R.M. Dowdy, J.C. and Slominski, A.T. 2013. Ultraviolet radiation regulates cortisol activity in a waveband-dependent manner in human skinex vivo. British Journal of Dermatology, Vol. 168, Issue. 3, p. 595.


Cutaneous glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in antidepressant-resistant depression

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 October 2005

Background. There is evidence to indicate that peripheral glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function is reduced in major depression, and a possible molecular explanation for this is the impact of raised pro-inflammatory cytokines. The topical steroid vasoconstriction assay provides a convenient probe of peripheral GR function. The present study sought to assess the sensitivity of peripheral GRs in antidepressant-resistant major depressives and investigate the association between GR sensitivity and circulating plasma cytokines.

Method. Nineteen antidepressant-resistant depressives together with age- and sex-matched healthy controls underwent the steroid vasoconstriction assay using three commercial preparations of corticosteroids containing clobetasol propionate 0·05%, betamethasone valerate 0·1%, and clobetasone butyrate 0·05%, corresponding to very potent, potent, and moderately potent steroid creams respectively. The pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The severity of the depressive episode was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD).

Results. Depressed subjects had a significantly reduced vasoconstriction response across all three strengths of steroid. They also had significantly higher concentrations of TNF-α and IL-6. There was a significant inverse correlation between TNF-α concentration and vasoconstriction response and also between the HAMD score and vasoconstriction response.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that cutaneous GR function is abnormal in antidepressant-resistant depression, that circulating TNF-α may play a significant role in this abnormality and that the efficacy of topical steroids in antidepressant-resistant depressives is reduced.

Corresponding author
Department of Psychiatry, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *