Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 August 2021
Dysregulated proinflammatory cytokines have been shown to be associated with suicidal behavior. Cognitive deficits in working memory and inhibitory control have been demonstrated in depressed patients and people with suicidal ideation (SI). However, the association between proinflammatory cytokines, SI, and cognitive deficits in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) remains unclear.
A total of 77 patients with MDD and age-/sex-matched 60 healthy individuals were recruited. MDD patients were divided into two groups: with SI (n = 36) and no SI (n = 41). SI was defined by a score of ≥2 in item 3 of the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including soluble interleukin-6 receptor, soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor type 1, and C-reactive protein (CRP), were measured, and cognitive function was assessed using 2-back task and Go/No-Go task.
Patients with SI had higher levels of CRP than those without SI and controls (P = .007). CRP was positively associated with SI (β = 0.21, P = .037), independent of cognitive function and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, SI was associated with cognitive deficits in working memory and inhibitory control after adjusting for confounding factors (P < .05).
Our findings suggest that higher levels of serum CRP and deficits in working memory and inhibitory control may be associated with higher SI among patients with MDD.