Investigating inflammation in depression in the chronically ill: Theoretical model and perspectives

Christophe Clesse, Muhammad Magdi Yaqoob, Simone Jayakumar, Kamaldeep Bhui, Livia A Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Inflammation is a risk factor for chronic physical illnesses. Evidence is building that inflammation is also a risk factor for mental illnesses making inflammation a common mechanism which could explain the high comorbidity between mental and physical illnesses.

METHODS: Based on a systematic search, a review on factors associated with inflammation in the depressed chronically ill has been conducted. Relevant articles have been selected according to the methodological considerations (scope, sample size, type of analysis and bias).

RESULTS: Five categories of factors mediate the association between chronic physical and mental illnesses: (1) social-demographic factors, (2) social-economic background, (3) adverse health behaviours, (4) psychological stress and (5) genetics. Psychological therapies and medication also moderate this association. A theoretical model of the interplay between inflammation, depression and chronic physical illness is then presented.

DISCUSSION: Inflammation contribute to both chronic physical and mental illnesses. These conclusions support future advances in clinical and research practice, as well as training and education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalThe journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022


  • Humans
  • Depression
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Inflammation
  • Models, Theoretical

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