IL-6 in Blood and Bone Marrow Linked to Lack of Resilience to Stress

December 8, 2016 · Posted in Risk Factors 

stress and inflammation

Rodents who are repeatedly defeated by larger animals often exhibit depression-like behaviors. In new research that researcher Georgia E. Hodes presented at the 2016 meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, animals who are susceptible to these social defeat stress behaviors showed immune irregularities, including high levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6.

An intervention to prevent the mice from secreting interleukin-6 in blood and bone marrow took away their susceptibility to social defeat stress. When bone marrow from rodents with no interleukin-6 was transplanted into susceptible mice, the recipients showed resilience to social defeat stress. Conversely, a transplant from susceptible mice to those mice without IL-6 led to social defeat stress in the previously “immune” mice.

This research shows that the peripheral immune system, including blood and bone marrow, plays an important role in depression-like behaviors in mice.


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