There is growing interest in the role of inflammation in psychiatric disorders. Trials of anti-inflammatory treatments have yielded mixed results at best. Growing research implicates inflammatory cytokines as not only being increased in patients with severe mental illness, but suggest that they directly impact specific areas and circuits within the brain. More specifically, inflammation appears to be associated with alterations in signaling from circuits involving the basal ganglia and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Decreased connectivity in these circuits is associated with specific symptoms, namely anhedonia and psychomotor slowing, which are known to be present in many psychiatric illnesses. Moreover, increasing data implicates interactions between inflammation and metabolic disturbances on these circuits and subsequent symptoms This poses important opportunities for the field to consider novel mechanisms and treatments that may target both inflammatory and/or metabolic pathways.
Presenter: David Goldsmith, MD
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