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Disease Outcome, Alexithymia and Depression are Differently Associated with Serum IL-18 Levels in Acute Stroke

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Abstract:

Stroke has been shown to lead to depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and other emotional consequences. Although the cause of these disorders is a subject of debate, stroke has clearly been shown to lead to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which we hypothesized to play a role in the production of post-stroke emotional disorders. Thus we investigated here whether acute stroke might be associated with changes in the normal serum levels of IL-18 and if these changes were related to stroke severity, as well as to the presence and severity of alexithymia and depression. Thirty patients with a first-ever symptomatic ischemic stroke were included. Alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale; TAS-20), depression (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale; HDRS-17) and serum IL-18 were assessed. Stroke patients showed serum levels of IL-18 significantly related to stroke severity. Furthermore, a strong positive correlation was observed between IL-18 levels and severity of alexithymia, particularly among patients with right-hemisphere lesions. Specifically, circulating concentrations of IL-18 were significantly increased in patients with categorical alexithymia (TAS-20 score ≥61), as compared with both non alexithymic patients and control subjects. In addition, stroke was more severe in alexithymic patients, as compared to non alexithymic patients. Following multivariate regression, serum IL-18 levels appeared to be specifically associated with alexithymia rather than with stroke severity in patients with righthemisphere lesions only. These results suggest that IL-18 might be specifically implicated in the pathogenesis of poststroke alexithymia, ultimately contributing to impaired recovery from stroke.





Keywords: IL-18; alexithymia; cytokines; disease severity; emotional disturbances; ischemic stroke

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2174/156720209788970036

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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  • Current Neurovascular Research (CNR) provides a cross platform for the publication of scientifically rigorous research that addresses disease mechanisms of both neuronal and vascular origins in neuroscience. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of novel and pioneering original work as well as timely neuroscience research reviews in the disciplines of cell developmental disorders, plasticity, and degeneration that bridge the gap between basic science research and clinical discovery. CNR emphasizes the elucidation of disease mechanisms, both cellular and molecular, which can impact the development of unique therapeutic strategies for neuronal and vascular disorders.
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