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Early flow cytometry studies revealed T cell activation in major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD is characterised by activation of the immune-inflammatory response system (IRS) and the compensatory immunoregulatory system (CIRS), including deficits in T regulatory (Treg) cells. This study examines the number of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) receptor-bearing T/B lymphocytes in MDD, and the effects of in vitro cannabidiol (CBD) administration on CB1/CB2-bearing immunocytes. Using flow cytometry, we determined the percentage of CD20+CB2+, CD3+CB2+, CD4+CB2+, CD8+CB2+ and FoxP3+CB1+ cells in 19 healthy controls and 29 MDD patients in 5 conditions: baseline, stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 with or without 0.1 µg/mL, 1.0 µg/mL, or 10.0 µg/mL CBD. CB2+ was significantly higher in CD20+ than CD3+ and CD4+ and CD 8+ cells. Stimulation with anti-CD3/CD8 increases the number of CB2-bearing CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ cells, as well as CB1-bearing FoxP3+ cells. There was an inverse association between the number of reduced CD4+ CB2+ and IRS profiles, including M1 macrophage, T helper-(Th)-1 and Th-17 phenotypes. MDD is characterised by lowered basal FoxP3+ CB1+% and higher CD20+ CB2+%. 33.2% of the variance in the depression phenome (including severity of depression, anxiety and current suicidal behaviours) is explained by CD20+ CB2+ % (positively) and CD3+ CB2+% (inversely). All five immune cell populations were significantly increased by 10 µg/mL of CBD administration. Reductions in FoxP3+ CB1+% and CD3+ /CD4+ CB2+% contribute to deficits in immune homoeostasis in MDD, while increased CD20+CB2+% may contribute to the pathophysiology of MDD by activating T-independent humoral immunity.
The first publication demonstrating that major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with alterations in the gut microbiota appeared in 2008 (Maes et al., 2008). The purpose of the present study is to delineate a) the microbiome signature of the phenome of depression, including suicidal behaviours (SB) and cognitive deficits; the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and recurrence of illness index (ROI) on the microbiome; and the microbiome signature of lowered high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc). We determined isometric log-ratio abundances or prevalences of gut microbiome phyla, genera, and species by analysing stool samples from 37 healthy Thai controls and 32 MDD patients using 16S rDNA sequencing. Six microbiome taxa accounted for 36% of the variance in the depression phenome, namely Hungatella and Fusicatenibacter (positive associations) and Butyricicoccus, Clostridium, Parabacteroides merdae, and Desulfovibrio piger (inverse association). This profile (labelled enterotype 1) indicates compositional dysbiosis, is strongly predicted by ACE and ROI, and is linked to SB. A second enterotype was developed that predicted a decrease in HDLc and an increase in the atherogenic index of plasma (Bifidobacterium, P. merdae, and Romboutsia were positively associated, while Proteobacteria and Clostridium sensu stricto were negatively associated). Together, enterotypes 1 and 2 explained 40.4% of the variance in the depression phenome, and enterotype 1 in conjunction with HDLc explained 39.9% of the variance in current SB. In conclusion, the microimmuneoxysome is a potential new drug target for the treatment of severe depression and SB and possibly for the prevention of future episodes.
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