Improvement of psychomotor retardation after electroconvulsive therapy is related to decreased IL-6 levels.

Affiliation

Belge JB(1), Van Diermen L(2), Sabbe B(3), Moens J(4), Morrens M(3), Coppens V(3), de Timary P(5), Constant E(5), Vansteelandt K(6), Sienaert P(7), Schrijvers D(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center Duffel, Stationstraat 22, Duffel 2570, Belgium; Department of Psychiatry, Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute
(CAPRI), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp 2610, Belgium; Adult Psychiatry Department and Institute of Neuroscience, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate 10, Brussels 1200, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center Duffel, Stationstraat 22, Duffel 2570, Belgium; Department of Psychiatry, Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute
(CAPRI), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp 2610, Belgium; Psychiatric Center Bethanië, Andreas Vesaliuslaan 39, Zoersel 2980, Belgium.
(3)Department of Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center Duffel, Stationstraat 22, Duffel 2570, Belgium; Department of Psychiatry, Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute
(CAPRI), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp 2610, Belgium.
(4)AZ Sint Maarten, Liersesteenweg 435, Mechelen 2800, Belgium.
(5)Adult Psychiatry Department and Institute of Neuroscience, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate 10, Brussels 1200, Belgium.
(6)Department of Statistics, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, Kortenberg 3010, Belgium.
(7)KU Leuven - University of Leuven, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Academic Center for ECT and Neuromodulation
(AcCENT), Leuvensesteenweg 517, Kortenberg 3010, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prior studies suggest that IL-6 may be involved in the pathophysiology of psychomotor symptoms in depression. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), as yet the most effective biological treatment of severe depression, is known to improve psychomotor functioning, while recent studies have shown a decrease in the elevated IL-6 levels of depressed patients following ECT. OBJECTIVES: This study investigates whether the improvement in psychomotor functions in patients with depression after ECT is related to changes in IL-6 levels. METHODS: Peripheral IL-6 was quantified and the severity of psychomotor agitation and retardation determined using the CORE assessment of psychomotor symptoms in 62 patients with a (unipolar or bipolar) depressive episode within one week before and within one week after their course of ECT. RESULTS: IL-6 levels had decreased significantly following ECT and both psychomotor retardation and agitation had improved. The decrease in IL-6 levels was related to the improvement of psychomotor retardation, with post-hoc analysis revealing that higher baseline IL-6 levels positively correlated with higher psychomotor retardation scores. CONCLUSION: With this study, we provide the first evidence that the improvement of psychomotor retardation after ECT for depression is related to the immunomodulatory properties of the treatment, most specifically the decrease in IL-6 levels.