From Physiome to Pathome: A Systems Biology Model of Major Depressive Disorder and the Psycho-Immune-Neuroendocrine Network
N.J.C. Stapelberg, D.L. Neumann, D.H.K. Shum, H. McConnell and I. Hamilton-Craig
Affiliation: School of Applied Psychology and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport Queensland 4215, Australia.
Keywords: Cerebrovascular accident, coronary heart disease, major depressive disorder, pathome, physiome, psycho-immuneneuroendocrine
network, systems biology, Type 2 diabetes.
This article introduces a systems biology model of the psycho-immune-neuroendocrine (PINE) network. It
provides a comprehensive synthesis of the network of biological mechanisms which link major depressive disorder
(MDD) with several diseases including hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular
accident (CVA) and type 2 diabetes. The first part of this article provides an overview of concepts such as the PINE
physiome and pathome, as well as the application of a systems biology framework to explain the significant reciprocal
associations of MDD with the above named medical illnesses. The second part describes the normal physiological
pathways of immune mechanisms, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, autonomic pathways and central
nervous system function, which form the PINE physiome. The third section describes how homeostasis of the PINE
physiome is disrupted by chronic stress, on a background of genetic and developmental diathesis factors, resulting in a
network of pathophysiological pathways called the PINE pathome. MDD, CHD, type 2 diabetes, CVA, hypertension and
atherosclerosis can act to maintain the PINE network in a stable pathological state. This article presents comprehensive
topographical maps of both the PINE physiome and the PINE pathome. Implications of the model and the importance of
adopting a systems approach to understanding the relationship between these diseases is discussed in the last section,
including the possibility of novel treatments for MDD and areas of future research.
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