Early Life Immune Modulation and Mood Disorders – Anxiety / Depression / OCD

CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells revert the impaired emotional behavior of immunocompromised RAG-1-deficient mice


An imbalanced immune system has long been known to influence a variety of mood disorders including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression.

In this study, we sought to model the impact of an immunocompromised state on these emotional behaviors using RAG-1−/− mice, which lack T and B cells.

We also investigated the relative contribution of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells to these manifestations using RAG-1−/−/OT-II and RAG-1−/−/OT-I transgenic mice, respectively.

Our results show that RAG-1−/− mice present a significant increase in digging and marble-burying activities compared with wild-type mice.

Surprisingly, these anxiety-like behaviors were significantly reverted in RAG-1−/−/OT-II but not RAG-1−/−/OT-I transgenic mice.

Immunodepletion experiments with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 in C57/BL6 mice or repopulation studies in RAG-1−/− mice did not reproduce these findings.

Microarray analysis of the brain of RAG-1−/− and RAG-1−/−/OT-II mice revealed a significantly different gene fingerprint, with the latter being more similar to wild-type mice than the former.

Further analysis revealed nine main signaling pathways as being significantly modulated in RAG-1−/− compared with wild-type mice.

Taken together, these results suggest that life-long rather than transient immunodeficient conditions influence the emotional behaviors in mice.

Most interestingly, these effects seem to correlate with a specific absence of CD4+ rather than CD8+ T cells.

Validation of these findings in man might provide new clues on the mechanism by which early life immune modulation might impact mood response in adults and provide a further link between immune and emotional well-being.

This entry was posted in Autism, co-morbid, Depression, Environment, Immune System, Inflammation, Mice, Neurology, Physiology. Bookmark the permalink.

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