There exists a critical link between immunological processes and metabolic changes. Furthermore,
it becomes more and more evident that changes in immunometabolic pathways are highly interconnected
with psychological processes and the nervous system. Depressive disorders are a major
contributor to the overall burden of disease worldwide. Despite extensive research, therapeutic interventions
are often not satisfying. This may be due to the yet only partially elucidated pathobiochemistry
underlying the development of depression which may be influenced by multiple factors including genetics,
environment, lifestyle, and importantly by the immunological status. In this review article, the roles
and consequences of the interferon gamma-dependent pathways of tryptophan breakdown and neopterin
formation are discussed, as well as phenylalanine metabolism, trying to provide a rational link between
immunology, metabolism and mental status. Besides underlining the complexity of the mechanism involved
in the development of depression, the knowledge on relevant biomarkers may be useful in orchestrating
personalized therapy regimes.
Keywords: Cytokines, Depression, Inflammation, Immune activation, Interferon-γ, Serotonin, Tryptophan.
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