Background: Major depression in young women is often comorbid with borderline personality disorder (BPD); however, adrenal steroids and pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with comorbid current major depressive disorder and BPD (MDD/BPD) have not been systematically examined. Therefore, our study aimed at examining serum profiles of cortisol, cytokines, and the cortisol/dehydroepiandrosterone (cortisol/DHEA) ratio in MDD/BPD patients and a healthy comparison group. Methods: Twelve medication-free female patients with MDD/BPD and 12 healthy women were included. Serum profiles of cortisol, DHEA, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1β were sampled, and the molar cortisol/DHEA ratio was determined. Results: Concentrations of serum cortisol, TNF-α, and IL-6, as well as the cortisol/DHEA ratios were significantly increased in MDD/BPD patients as compared with the healthy comparison group. Conclusions: Depressed patients with comorbid BPD display endocrine and immune alterations similar to those observed in cases of melancholic MDD without BPD. Elevated concentrations of serum cortisol, cortisol/DHEA ratios, and pro-inflammatory cytokines might indicate a state marker in these patients and might contribute to long-term metabolic alterations that have also been associated with MDD.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)