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Is it our immune systems making us feel bad?

Posted by glenn on August 8, 2002, at 14:24:35

Hi there everyone, having haunted this board and others for 5 years I may have come across something very interesting for some of us, especially if ads dont help much.
I have noticed over the years on this and other boards a similar theme coming up-
Basically posts saying something like the following:

1. have had depression and anxiety for years

2. not much seems to work , especially ads

3. have been prescribed steroids for a different condition

4. within a day or two I feel much better

5. no high or euphoria just normal

I saw such a post last week by jerrympls and it may tie in with something I only found out last week.
Basically Dr Brian Leonard of the university of Galway has found that in contrast to previous wisdom cortisol boosts rather than depresses the immune system. It may dampen down natural killer cells but other parts such as the cytokines interleukin 1 AND 2, TNF Alpha and the prostaglandin pge2 are all revved up by cortisol.
Many of these have been found to be high in depression and tnf has been found to cause stress and depressive like symptoms in rats.
Apparently Ilf 1 can rev up the hpa axis on its own, so what comes first?!
In Leonards words " Major depression may be a psychoneuroimmunological disease and the drugs used to treat immune conditions may help with depression"
The link with steroids may be that apart from anything else they are immunosupressants.
So rather than having a cortisol or hormonal boost
Jerry and the others may be having relief from an overactive immune system and whatever else that leads to. Most immune chemicals seem very active in the brain it seems.
Please feel free to correct me on anything I have got muddled with as by brain doesnt work as well as it did 5 years ago, but I beleive there may be something very interesting here for some of us.
I by the way have not had a cold or flu or hay fever for 5 years since my "depression" started and I have very high cortisol levels.
Just one last point , Im not sure if steroids do increase cortisol levels, 1mg of dexamethasone sure reduced mine very quickly.
Hope this is of use to someone, it sure makes me consider trying a steroid {short term}or an immunosupressant as a possible help if the celexa im on doesnt help.{not that im recommending this for anyone else}


ps theres also an earlier article on hed web called A mind under seige by Phyllida Brown which looks at this.




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