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Exposure to an inflammatory challenge enhances neural sensitivity to negative and positive social feedback

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  • Ref Exposure to an inflammatory challenge enhances neural sensitivity to negative and positive social feedback

    "In sum, results from this study suggest that an acute inflammatory challenge may sensitize individuals to evaluative feedback communicated by social agents, and thus lead to greater activation in both threat/pain and reward-related neural regions, in addition to mentalizing regions, in response to negative and positive social feedback. This heightened sensitivity to social information makes sense from an adaptive perspective, as when in a vulnerable state, individuals should be especially attuned to cues of possible additional threats (i.e., negative social feedback), but also to signals of possible help or support (i.e., positive social feedback)."

  • #2
    From Stress to Inflammation and Major Depressive Disorder: A Social Signal Transduction Theory of Depression

    Major life stressors, especially those involving interpersonal stress and social rejection, are among the strongest proximal risk factors for depression. In this review, we propose a biologically plausible, multilevel theory that describes neural, physiologic, molecular, and genomic mechanisms that link experiences of social-environmental stress with internal biological processes that drive depression pathogenesis. Central to this social signal transduction theory of depression is the hypothesis that experiences of social threat and adversity up-regulate components of the immune system involved in inflammation. The key mediators of this response, called proinflammatory cytokines, can in turn elicit profound changes in behavior, which include the initiation of depressive symptoms such as sad mood, anhedonia, fatigue, psychomotor retardation, and social-behavioral withdrawal. This highly conserved biological response to adversity is critical for survival during times of actual physical threat or injury. However, this response can also be activated by modern-day social, symbolic, or imagined threats, leading to an increasingly proinflammatory phenotype that may be a key phenomenon driving depression pathogenesis and recurrence, as well as the overlap of depression with several somatic conditions including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and neurodegeneration. Insights from this theory may thus shed light on several important questions including how depression develops, why it frequently recurs, why it is strongly predicted by early life stress, and why it often co-occurs with symptoms of anxiety and with certain physical disease conditions. This work may also suggest new opportunities for preventing and treating depression by targeting inflammation.