King's College London

Research portal

A bidirectional relationship between depression and the autoimmune disorders – New perspectives from the National Child Development Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number0173015
Pages (from-to)NA
JournalPLOS One
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2017

Documents

King's Authors

Abstract

Background

Depression and the autoimmune disorders are comorbid—the two classes of disorders overlap in the same individuals at a higher frequency than chance. The immune system may influence the pathological processes underlying depression; understanding the origins of this comorbidity may contribute to dissecting the mechanisms underlying these disorders.

Method

We used population cohort data from the 1958 British birth cohort study (the National Child Development Study) to investigate the ages at onset of depression and 23 autoimmune disorders. We used self-report data to ascertain life-time history of depression, autoimmune disorders and their ages at onset. We modelled the effect of depression onset on subsequent autoimmune disorder onset, and vice versa, and incorporated polygenic risk scores for depression and autoimmune disorder risk.

Results

In our analytic sample of 8174 individuals, 315 reported ever being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (3.9%), 1499 reported ever experiencing depression (18.3%). There was significant comorbidity between depression and the autoimmune disorders (OR = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.27–2.15). Autoimmune disorder onset associated with increased subsequent hazard of depression onset (HR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.11–1.74, P = 0.0037), independently of depression genetic risk. Finally, depression increased subsequent hazard of autoimmune disorder onset (HR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.09–1.80, P = 0.0095), independently of autoimmune disorder genetic risk.

Discussion

Our results point to a bidirectional relationship between depression and the autoimmune disorders. This suggests that shared risk factors may contribute to this relationship, including both common environmental exposures that increase baseline inflammation levels, and shared genetic factors.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2015 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454