Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 301
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825544

Cytokines, the regulation of body weight and psychopharmacological treatment

H Vedder 1, A Weber 1, JC Krieg 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany

Increasing evidence indicates, that immune factors such as cytokines are involved in metabolic alterations and the regulation of body weight: Leptin, a peptide involved in body weight changes, is structurally a cytokine and tumor-necrosis factor-alpha – primarily named cachectin for its pronounced effects on body weight – represent important agents with effects in both, the immune and the metabolic system.

At the moment, relevant interactions between the central nervous system, the immune system and the metabolic system are only partially known, although they may have implications for a number of psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Beside these predisposing factors, psychopharmacological treatment does induce changes in body weight and leads to consecutive alterations in cytokine levels, although the underlying mechanisms are only partially known at the moment. Therefore, the interactions between the different systems may be altered in psychiatric diseases and during psychopharmacological therapy, resulting in the dysregulation of body weight.