Inflammatory mediators of cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder
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OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have pointed to neuroinflammation, oxidative stress and neurotrophic factors as key mediators in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. Little is however known about the cascade of biological episodes underlying the cognitive deficits observed during the acute and euthymic phases of bipolar disorder (BD). The aim of this review is to assess the potential association between cognitive impairment and biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress and neurotrophic activity in BD. METHODS: Scopus (all databases), Pubmed and Ovid Medline were systematically searched with no language or year restrictions, up to November 2013, for human studies that collected both inflammatory markers and cognitive data in BD. Selected search terms were bipolar disorder, depression, mania, psychosis, inflammatory, cognitive and neurotrophic. RESULTS: Ten human studies satisfied the criteria for consideration. The findings showed that high levels of peripheral inflammatory-cytokine, oxidative stress and reduced brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels were associated with poor cognitive performance. The BDNF val66met polymorphism is a potential vulnerability factor for cognitive impairment in BD. CONCLUSIONS: Current data provide preliminary evidence of a link between the cognitive decline observed in BD and mechanisms of neuroinflammation and neuroprotection. The identification of BD specific inflammatory markers and polymorphisms in inflammatory response genes may be of assistance for therapeutic intervention.
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