The Historical Development of Immunoendocrine Concepts of Psychiatric Disorders and Their Therapy

Holger Steinberg, Kenneth C. Kirkby, Hubertus Himmerich

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Relationships between the central nervous, immune and endocrine systems are a focus of psychiatric research, particularly in depression and schizophrenia. The field has long antecedents. Observed phenomena attributable to these relationships date back to the Neolithic era. Immunoendocrine theories in the broadest sense are recorded in antiquity. In the 19th century, Kraepelin and Wagner-Jauregg reported pioneering clinical observations in psychiatric patients. Von Basedow, Addison and Cushing described psychiatric symptoms in patients suffering from endocrine diseases. The 20th century opened with the identification of hormones, the first, adrenaline, chemically isolated independently by Aldrich und Takamine in 1901. Berson and Yalow developed the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique in 1959 making it possible to measure levels of hormones and cytokines. These developments have enabled great strides in psychoimmunoendocrinology. Contemporary research is investigating diagnostic and therapeutic applications of these concepts, for example by identifying biomarkers within the endocrine and immune systems and by synthesizing and testing drugs that modulate these systems and show antidepressant or antipsychotic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28841-28869
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015


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