Serum concentrations of TNF-α and its soluble receptors during psychotherapy in German soldiers suffering from combat-related PTSD

Hubertus Himmerich, Gerd D Willmund, Peter Zimmermann, Jörg-Egbert Wolf, Antje H Bühler, Kenneth C Kirkby, Bethan Dalton, Lesca M. Holdt, Daniel Teupser, Ulrich Wesemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Changes in serum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and its soluble receptors (sTNF-R) p55 and p75 have been shown to be associated with various psychiatric treatments.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Before and after treatment, serum levels of TNF-α, sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 were measured in 38 German soldiers who had been deployed abroad and suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients were randomized either to inpatient psychotherapy (N=21) including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or to outpatient clinical management (N=17). Symptoms of PTSD were measured using the Post-traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS).
RESULTS: The PDS score significantly decreased across time in both groups. Serum concentrations of TNF-α increased, while sTNF-R p55 and sTNF-R p75 levels decreased significantly. After the treatment period, we could not detect any significant difference regarding TNF-α, sTNF-R p55 or sTNF-R p75 levels between the inpatient psychotherapy group and the outpatient clinical management control group.
CONCLUSIONS: This relatively small clinical study suggests that specific inpatient psychotherapy but also non-specific supportive outpatient treatment for PTSD are associated with changes in the TNF-α system. This may represent an immunological effects or side effects of psychotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
Volume28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2016

Keywords

  • Cytokines
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotherapy
  • Soluble TNF receptors
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α)

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